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New technology says it will stop phone and text message scams

Cell carriers now offer customers new protection
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Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 09:58:18-04

No matter how many numbers you block, it feels as if there's no end to spam calls and text messages.

Hannah Brockwell says she can't even enjoy lunch with her husband, without getting a suspicious phone call or text on her phone.

At times, the caller could even be trying to scam you, like the ones with claims your bank account is locked up for suspected fraud.

"It prompts you to click on a link," she said. "And then it will take you to this very 'urgent' matter," as Brockwell described one incident she experienced.

Brockwell says if the call is not a banking scam, she said she's also experienced a package delivery scam regarding some order that she never placed.

"Oh this package is on its way from UPS," she said. "And it wants me to click on the link to track it," she described one incident as happening to her.

But, in every case, it is a scam. These calls are more than just a minor inconvenience. For instance, if you get a text claiming there's a problem with your bank account, and you click on that text and fall for it, a scammer can drain your account in minutes.

Unfortunately, the phone technology that we currently use was designed at a time when there were little to no concerns about these kind of scams.

Cybersecurity consultant Dave Hatter says "spoof" calls like these are especially dangerous.

"You look down, it looks like a local number. It might look like it's from your bank or IRS. It could be anything because unfortunately, this is really easy to do," Hatter said.

There is some good news though: Cell phone carriers are taking steps to warn consumers that an incoming call is likely a scam.

"To me that's just an extremely invaluable service because it's so easy to spoof these sites," Hatter said.

New technology to protect you from scams

So what else is being done to protect you? Just last month, the FCC announced a crackdown on overseas robocalls.

Plus, all major carriers including Verizon, AT&T, and TMobile now offer some sort of scam call blocking app, although not all services are free, and many will label suspicious calls as "scam likely." Check with your cell provider

No matter what technology you get from your provider, Hatter says:

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers.
  • Never give out personal information such as your bank account number, even if it appears to be your bank calling.
  • If someone says they represent your bank or a government agency, hang up and verify the number. Call your bank at the number you find on their website, not the number that called you.

Hannah Brockwell just wants it to end. "It's really confusing and irritating, and I wonder how they got my number," she said.

So check with your cell provider to see what tools they offer and that way you don't waste your money, by getting scammed.

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