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  • Writer's pictureMaría Belén Gómez

Strategies to prevent telephone scams

Surfing the net, it is likely that on more than one occasion you have come across scam attempts through emails, SMS or WhatsApp messages. These messages pretend to be from reputable companies, your bank, entities such as the Post Office or even making you tempting financial offers. Over the years, phone scams have evolved, adopting terms such as phishing, smishing or vishing, often employing social engineering tactics to obtain money or personal data.

Tips to avoid being scammed through messages and phone calls

Regardless of the name they adopt, all these scam strategies, whether via phone calls, SMS or WhatsApp messages, pursue a common goal: to obtain money directly from you or sell your data to third parties. However, there are certain recurring characteristics that can help us identify these fraud attempts. The key is to keep common sense and remain calm, since many of these scams are based on fear, urgency and taking advantage of us when we are unprepared.

Telephone scams have changed over time. Gone are the days of door-to-door sales tactics, but there are still frequent commercial calls that, in principle, could be legal. The problem lies in fraudulent calls, where individuals impersonate known entities such as your bank or utility companies. These scammers request personal information under the pretext of updating your records, offering supposed prizes or urgent promotions.

A useful tactic to avoid falling into these traps is to ask for information before providing it. Ask the caller to identify themselves or provide personal information that they should know is legitimate. Also, be wary of calls offering unsolicited job offers or announcing prizes without having participated in any contest.

In the case of financial institutions, it is essential to remember that they will never ask for passwords or codes over the phone. On the other hand, when a new contract or service is offered over the phone, it is wise to ask for details of the current contract to verify the authenticity of the call.

In case of any doubt, it is always advisable to be suspicious and contact through official channels such as contact numbers, social networks or official applications. The key to avoid falling into these scams lies in not making hasty decisions. Nothing is so urgent as to provide banking information without due reflection.

Defend your digital security

The aforementioned tips and details also apply to fraudulent emails, SMS and WhatsApp messages. Phishing and identity theft are spread through a variety of communication channels, using excuses such as non-existent fines, unsolicited prizes, misleading job offers or irregular payment requests.

Before responding to these messages, take a moment to reflect on the veracity of the situation. Avoid clicking on unknown links or calling numbers provided in suspicious messages, as these may sometimes be numbers with special high cost-per-call rates.

In short, these scams are based on obtaining personal information or data that allow money to be stolen. Therefore, let's remain suspicious, verify the identity of the contacting party and remember that no legitimate entity will request sensitive information over the phone. To manage these types of matters, mobile applications and official websites are available.

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