Mobile and SMS scams in Pakistan are still on the rise, so it’s essential to recognize various types of scams that scammers employ using different strategies to take advantage of people, and the outcomes can be severe.
This article will examine the different types of mobile and SMS scams in Pakistan and suggest methods to avoid being victimized by them.
Understanding mobile and SMS scams
Mobile and SMS scams entail deceitful individuals or groups who exploit these channels to deceive people.
Scammers employ several tactics, including phishing, voice phishing, missed call scams, and fake prize scams, to entice victims into exposing their personal details, money or both.
Typically, scammers initiate the con schemes via a text message or a phone call, tricking victims into believing they are corresponding with a trustworthy organization.
How scammers target mobile users
Scammers focus on mobile users as it is a convenient way to reach a large audience. Specifically in Pakistan, the rise in scams through SMS apps is rising and thriving, and unfortunately, people got trapped in them due to unawareness and not knowing the type.
The below graph shows the states of how often SMS scams occur in Pakistan.
They send messages or make calls to random numbers while posing as a trusted company or service provider. Additionally, they can buy stolen data or use public databases to obtain personal phone numbers.
It’s crucial to exercise caution when receiving calls or messages from unfamiliar numbers.
|Avoid responding immediately and conduct online research to confirm the sender’s credibility. You can also contact your service provider or the company in question to validate the legitimacy of the message.|
Mobile apps are another way scammers target users. Some apps may feature malware or viruses that steal personal data. To prevent falling prey to such scams, only download apps from trusted sources and read reviews and ratings before downloading.
Common tactics used in SMS Scams
SMS scams use text messages to trick the recipient into giving away sensitive information, such as credit card or banking details.
Common tactics include posing as a legitimate entity, such as a bank, to request personal information, and using urgency to pressure the victim into responding.
Some common SMS scams include:
A well-known SMS scam is the “smishing” scam. In this scheme, scammers send a text message that looks authentic, often posing as banks or credit card companies. The text might request the recipient to give out personal information or click on a suspicious link.
Unfortunately, the link often directs the person to a counterfeit website created to obtain the victim’s information.
One more SMS scam that is prevalent is the “vishing” scam.
This particular con involves the scammer making a call to the victim, claiming they are a representative of a reputable and genuine organization like a bank, and requesting personal details, for example, account number or PIN, under the pretext of validating the victim’s identity. This is nothing but a trick to steal the victim’s information.
To safeguard yourself from SMS scams, exercise caution when getting messages from unfamiliar numbers.
|Don’t tap on links or divulge any personally identifiable details unless you are sure that the message is genuine. You can also communicate with the company directly to authenticate the credibility of the message.|
Generally, it’s essential to be vigilant about mobile and SMS scams.
By having knowledge about the typical strategies employed by scammers and taking precautions to defend yourself, you can steer clear of these types of scams.
Phishing scams and types
Phishing scams involve cybercriminals impersonating trustworthy entities like banks or email providers to steal sensitive information.
They send emails or texts that seem genuine but contain malicious links or attachments aimed at infecting the victim’s device with malware.
To deceive victims more effectively, scammers have adopted advanced tactics in recent years.
They create fake websites mirroring legitimate companies or utilize social engineering to gain victims’ trust before soliciting their confidential information.
1. SMS phishing (Smishing)
Smishing is a type of SMS-based phishing where scammers send messages resembling those from trusted sources, requesting the recipient to provide sensitive information, click a link or take a specific action.
Such messages often use pressing or alarmist language, such as “Resolve the account issue by clicking this link.“
With advancements in their techniques, smishing attacks have grown immensely popular.
Scammers utilize sophisticated tactics to create messages that appear authentic and are challenging to identify as fake.
Certain scammers even accumulate personal data from social media and other inputs to make their messages seem more authoritative.
2. Voice phishing (Vishing)
Vishing refers to phone-based phishing, where scammers mimic reputable entities like banks or credit card companies to get confidential information or money.
Such calls might feature pre-recorded messages or scammers employing social engineering techniques to dupe victims into disclosing sensitive data.
Vishing attacks are especially potent due to the trust victims often place in phone calls’ credibility.
Scammers frequently use caller ID spoofing or comparable methods to make their calls seem like they originate from trustworthy sources. Further, they accumulate personal data from elsewhere to gain the victim’s confidence.
How to stay safe against these types of scams?
To safeguard against phishing scams, exercise care while responding to unsolicited messages or phone calls, and only release private information when confident in the authenticity of the inquiry.
Keep your computer and mobile devices current with current security software and switch your passwords intermittently to prevent illegal entry into your accounts.
Missed call scams
Missed call scams pose a significant challenge in multiple countries, Pakistan included. These scams manipulate individuals into dialing unknown numbers, causing them to incur excessive telephone expenses.
This piece will highlight the two typical missed call scams in Pakistan, including Wangiri fraud and premium rate number scams.
1. Wangiri fraud
Wangiri fraud is a well-established missed call scam that operates on a peculiar one-ring-and-cut approach, the name originating from the Japanese language.
Scammers ring the victim’s telephone once and disconnect the call, leaving a missed call notification. The victim may also receive an SMS prompting them to ring the number back.
Calling back connects the victim to an international or premium rate number, causing them to bear high charges.
Wangiri fraud is an especially nefarious scam type since it exploits human inquisitiveness. The missed call notification from an unrecognized number may cause an individual to feel eager to know the identity of the caller.
Scammers leverage this impulse to persuade people to redial the number, leading to high-cost consequences.
2. Premium rate number scams
Premium rate number scams represent a popular missed call scam category in Pakistan.
The victim gets an SMS or voice message from an unfamiliar number, insisting they call back. The message could purport to belong to a bank, governmental agency, or a company advertising a job offer or a prize.
Once the victim dials back, they risk being connected to an expensive premium rate number.
These fees are frequently not disclosed to the victim, and the cost only surfaces on their phone bill.
On some occasions, the scammers may prolong the call, accumulating even larger charges. Premium rate number scams pose a challenge to recognize since the numbers appear to be standard mobile or landline numbers.
Despite this, they are actually premium rate lines that charge notably higher rates.
How to protect yourself from missed call scams?
To safeguard yourself against missed call scams, observe the following measures:
- Refrain from calling back unknown numbers.
- If you do call back, pay close attention to the recording to identify any reference to premium rate fees.
- Exercise caution with urgent SMS or voice messages demanding that you call back.
- Avoid providing personal details over the phone, especially to unfamiliar callers.
- Regularly review your phone bill for unexpected charges.
- By adhering to these basic precautions, you can steer clear of missed call scams, and prevent incurring unnecessary expenses.
Fake prize and lottery scams
Fake prize and lottery scams involve sending messages to victims, declaring that they have won a prize or the lottery. Typically, the recipient is asked to submit personal details or pay a ‘processing fee’ to obtain the reward. Unfortunately, the victim may end up forfeiting their money or identity as a result.
1. SMS prize notifications
Text messages impersonating a credible entity such as a shopping website or telecoms company are often dispatched by scammers intending to inform victims that they have won a prize or competition. Claiming the reward may necessitate that the victim surrenders their personal information or pays a processing fee to access the funds.
2. Lottery scams via text message
The victim gets a text message notifying them of their triumph in a lottery or contest, promising a substantial amount of money in these scams. To collect the award, the victim is required to share personal information or pay a fee upfront, as stipulated in the message.
Mobile banking and financial scams
Mobile banking and financial scams pose a significant risk as more individuals embrace mobile banking as a hassle-free method to handle their finances. Opportunistic fraudsters capitalize on this growing trend, endeavoring to rob victims of their valuable earnings.
1. Fake bank alerts
Fraudsters pretend to be banks or other financial organizations and dispatch fake alerts that request that the victim follow a link or submit personal details. These notifications resemble actual alerts from banks, causing the victims to accidentally divulge confidential information.
2. Mobile money transfer scams
Mobile money transfer scams manipulate victims into transferring their mobile wallet funds to fraudsters. The con artists might convey text messages that impersonate a friend or family member in dire need of financial assistance, or even feign as mobile wallet service providers to deceive the victim.
FAQs – Get More Answers Here!
Q. What types of mobile and SMS scams exist in Pakistan, and how can I protect myself?
Mobile and SMS scams in Pakistan include phishing scams, lottery scams, and spoofed message scams. It’s important to be cautious of messages that ask for personal information or claim you have won something. Avoid sharing your passwords or financial information over SMS to protect yourself.
Q. How can I report a suspected scammer in Pakistan?
To report a suspected scammer in Pakistan, you can reach out to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) through their website or helpline at 9911.
Q. Which phone numbers linked to scams should I watch out for in Pakistan?
While it’s difficult to identify specific phone numbers linked to scams in Pakistan, be wary of messages from unfamiliar or international numbers.
Q. What are the major mobile and SMS scams that have happened in Pakistan?
Major mobile and SMS scams in Pakistan involve fake prize and investment schemes along with blackmail scams. To avoid falling prey to such scams, be vigilant and avoid engaging with suspicious messages.
Q. How can I file a complaint with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) about spam SMS messages?
To file a complaint with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to report spam SMS messages, you can email the PTA at “firstname.lastname@example.org” while attaching the spam message as evidence.
Q. If I fall victim to financial fraud through mobile or SMS scam in Pakistan, what can I do?
If you become a victim of financial fraud caused by mobile or SMS scams in Pakistan, immediately get in touch with your bank and the cybercrime division of FIA. Ensure that you preserve any evidence associated with the scam for future reference.
To summarize, mobile and SMS scams manifest themselves in various ways and can result in substantial financial and personal information loss. Familiarizing oneself with the various scam categories and their red flags is vital to prevent getting caught in their trap. Maintaining caution, refraining from revealing sensitive details via text messages or phone calls, and ensuring software is up to date can drastically reduce the frequency of mobile and SMS scams in Pakistan.