Use Your Virtual Phone Number to Ward off Phishing

Jan 8, 2013 17:02:16Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Use Your Virtual Phone Number to Ward off Phishing

Since the advent of the internet, hackers have been trying to figure out new ways to exploit innocent users. Scammers watch every new technological advancement intensely, and work quickly to find its loopholes and vulnerabilities. Because smart phones are so ubiquitous these days, they have become one of the biggest targets for fraudsters in search of unsuspecting callers' personal data. Fortunately, individuals who have a virtual phone number on their cell can evade these hackers with a few simple tricks.

What Is Phishing?
According to Microsoft, the term "phishing" refers to cyberattacks sent by telephone, email or websites with the goal of stealing personal information. For the purposes of this article, we'll be focusing on phishing in the form of phone calls and text messages. Because smart phones are such personal devices, many scammers attempt to disguise their malicious messages in the form of personal correspondence. For example, you may receive a text message from an unfamiliar number claiming to be an old friend. If it also contains a link, and you click on it, you'll likely be directed to a dangerous website where harmful software will be installed on your phone.

How to Identify Phishing
One way to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam is to know what a typical message will look like. Spelling and bad grammar should be a red flag, and any peculiar links in text messages should be a warning sign as well.

Some text messages or emails you read on your phone may look like they're being sent from a legitimate company, but are in fact from a scammer who is mimicking a website in the hopes of snagging a victim.

Fraudsters may even go so far as to call you personally. They'll offer to help fix any technical issues you're having with your device or sell you software upgrades.

Stopping It Before It Starts
Your second phone number can help protect your mobile identity. If you find that scammers have somehow gotten a hold of your number, there's a good chance they found it after you entered it into a website registration form. It's not always easy to know whether a web-based service is trustworthy, but having two numbers on one phone adds a valuable layer of protection. Use your second mobile number when filling out online forms, and if it ever becomes compromised, you can block the malicious caller or simply dispose of the number and replace it with a new one.

If you're the type to eagerly purchase the latest technology, then do yourself a favor and adopt the latest privacy measures, as well. Using a virtual phone number is a smart, safe decision for the modern phone owner.