On March 29th, USA Today published a story, which was later reprinted in The Cincinnati Enquirer, about Verizon Wireless customers receiving spam from their own numbers. "Verizon said it is working to block spam texts some customers say they have received from their own numbers," Brett Molina reports. "Several customers have complained about the spam texts, which say they've paid a March bill while offering a free gift redeemed through a mysterious link."
Solicitations of this kind, in which a stranger asks a device user to either click on a link or voluntarily share their information, are go-to tactics for phishing scammers. Historically, phishing schemes were perpetrated by human beings, but today many of these scams have become automated. Special computer programs can canvas an entire area code with scam calls quickly with voice-recognizing AI, capable of collecting information without human labor.
What can someone do in the face of these threats?
Protecting your Number
If you're worried about getting too many calls from scammers, whether of the human or the robotic kind, the first thing you should do is add your number to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry. It's a publicly funded, government program, so there's no out-of-pocket costs associated with the service.
Alternatively, recent iPhone and Android devices have built-in blocking mechanisms. IPhones allow users to block individual numbers as well as all unknown numbers. All Android devices allow the blocking of individual callers, but only some allow the blocking of all unknown numbers. PC Mag has a handy guide, published in December, that details how to use these features for readers who are curious.
In addition, many mobile service providers have their own spam blocking services. AT&T, Verizon, and Boost Mobile all sport their own spam filtering add-ons, often for only a few extra dollars a month.
Spam Protection for Businesses
Businesses need to be a little more thorough in their security measures if they're going to protect themselves from scammers. Although many business IT platforms, including Google and Microsoft, have their own security features, there are some additional practices firms need to consider when trying to protect their information and assets.
The first is to employ encryption in all company, web-based email. The most widely-used way to do this is through the use of HTTPS protocols. Hubspot has a good summary of what these protocols are and how to use them.
Next, employees need to be informed about phishing schemes and how to spot them. Management should have clear protocols in place to ensure no one in the company is requesting personal information from employees. We also recommend that all company email accounts employ good password practices and, if possible, multi-factor authentication. Both will go a long way in preventing password leaks and compromised accounts.
Do you need help weeding out all of the spam from your business inbox? Give Titan Tech a call today to get a free consultation on how to build out your IT security.
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