Welcome to the Smartphone protection series featuring Amy Nofziger of the AARP Foundation who does extensive work with the AARP Fraud Watch Network. “Scammers use scare tactics, so people should use Stop Tactics.” says AARP Foundation Regional Director and fraud expert Amy Nofziger who has worked extensively over years educating older adults about fighting fraud. This year, more than ever she is dedicated to educating the public on the urgency to take time to learn about the latest scams. Particularly Smartphone scams.
In her experience she says, “Scammers send you a disturbing or urgent message because they want you thinking emotionally, not cognitively, so if you see a Red Flag, stop communications right away and report it.” Over the years Amy has seen firsthand what can happen when people are not warned about the latest Smartphone scams. She warns that red flags are all similar. “If you get an urgent or threatening request from anyone, stop and think.” Working with the public has enabled her to understand personally, by talking with fraud victims that scammers use urgent messages to invoke fear. She urges, “Don’t make any decisions under pressure; but instead think about it before you act.” “Scammers use scare tactics, so you should use Stop Tactics,” she says.
One of the reasons why Smartphone scams are so big is because all too many people don’t take the time to educate themselves about them, so if you are approached by a scam, report it to the FTC. According Amy Nofziger, she believes that anyone can be scammed. Her mission is to reach out to as many people as possible in hopes people will become more empowered so they can in turn empower others. “Learn as much as you can, so you can stay safe,” she warns.
According to the AARP Bulletin, March, 2016 article, “Defend your Smartphone from Scammers,” by Sid Kirchheimer found that Smartphone scams are on the rise. In this article he warns the public to be on the lookout for more mobile scams this year. Some of the scams to watch out for according to this article are spam targeting your phone, fake bank text messages and the one-ring con involving calling back a number with a strange area code that leads to international fees or other unknown charges being added to your bill. This AARP article warns the public to watch out for the following area codes: 284,264,473,649,664,767,809,849,876,829.
According to the FTC, text message spam is illegal and can lead to identity theft, because when you click on a link or open a spam email from your Smartphone your information could get sold to identity thieves; in addition to marketers. If you are approached by a Smartphone scam report it to the FTC right away. Remember that the best way to stay protected from identity theft is to report and spread the word so you and others can steer clear of the latest scams.