Cell phone users are inundated with detailed articles about cell phone security. Techies provide complicated methods to protect against hackers. What about the less savvy? I’ve prepared for you some tips to protect your phone.
Keep Tabs on Your Phone
Millions of people lose their phones every year, with most of them being stolen. In 2014, 2.1 million cell phones were reported stolen. The person who finds your phone can access your information, including name, address, and account information on everything from your bank to Instagram. When you are out in public, keep your phone accessible but out of the way of thieves and pickpockets.
Lock Your Phone
Use a screen lock for your phone. Choices include fingerprint ID, password, pattern lock, PIN, and facial recognition. If your phone is lost or stolen, the person trying to get into your phone will have a much harder time if it’s protected.
Use a Tracking App
Tracking apps are used by users for various reasons including locating family members, especially children. However, they are also important if your phone goes missing. There are many apps that will allow you to do both. Be sure to test it before you need it to find a lost phone.
Avoid Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is tempting to users addicted to their phones. However, the services are not secure and can leave you vulnerable to users waiting to steal your information. If you need to use free Wi-Fi, limit what you use while connected to the service. Avoid logging in to any important accounts such as your bank or credit card. When you are finished with whatever you’re doing, log off. Cafes and airports offer Wi-Fi that is generally safe, but take precautions all the same. Never log in to an unknown open network.
Do Not Click That Link
Random texts asking you to click on a link are always suspect. They can allow hackers to access your information or install viruses or malware on your phone. If you receive a random text (too often with a “too good to be true” offer), do not reply. Delete it immediately. You can also use an app to trace unknown callers on your iPhone.
Teach Your Kids Phone Safety
Kids use cell phones more than grown-ups and should be aware of how to protect their phones – and themselves. Teach phone safety as soon as your child gets his first phone.
Update Your Apps
Many phones are equipped with apps to prevent viruses and the installation of spyware and malware. As a result, many users feel safe and forget that the apps need to be updated on a regular basis. New software is released every day, and an outdated phone may not be able to detect and prevent hacking and viruses. Phone updates should be routinely installed to ensure that bugs have been fixed and protections are engaged.
Following these simple tips will help users to stay safe and enjoy their phones as they were meant to be enjoyed.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports a dramatic increase in phone scams. Senior citizens are targets for scammers claiming to be from the SSA. The reason for the call? To tell the senior his/her Social Security number has been suspended. The caller states there has been fraudulent or criminal activity with the card. The number is suspended to protect the real card holder.
“They say to call a number to clear it up — where they’ll ask you for personal information,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. “The caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while he’s trying to lure you into one.”
The SSA does not suspend Social Security numbers. Not for any reason. There is no cost to reinstate it. Despite the caller’s claims, it’s a scam.
If you receive a call from an alleged SSA representative, use a free reverse phone book app for iPhone to verify the number. Some scammers spoof the SSA’s customer service number — 1-800-772-1213 — to take the scam a step further.
SSA Warns Citizens
“Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested,” said Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone. “I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence. We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”
- The SSA rarely, if ever, calls people on the phone. They communicate by mail.
- Be aware that the SSA will not make threats.
- Do not give them your bank account number.
- Don’t give out your Social Security number.
- Ignore demands from automated calls.
- Never give or confirm information.
- Don’t assume the call, text, or email is legitimate. Again, contact people by mail.
- Check all phone numbers using an iPhone reverse cell search app.
- Do not engage the person on the phone.
- Block phone numbers you suspect to be fake.
- Contact government agencies directly in person, through verified phone numbers, or through their website.
- Contact government agencies directly, using telephone numbers and website addresses you know to be legitimate.
If someone has tried to steal your personal information by pretending to be from the government, report it to the FTC. Also, report suspicious calls to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.
Readers often ask if it’s possible to look up phone numbers for free. Many sites offer free White Pages, cell phone numbers or reverse lookups. However, what they deliver is bad information, limited information, or require payment for a premium service. Some sites refer you to a separate paying site. In effect, I have never found a completely free site or app with complete and accurate information. Don’t despair. There are several efficient and accurate apps that will supply the information you seek. Some are more expensive and more difficult to use so it is wise to request a trial before committing to a membership. Popular sites include CallerSmart, BeenVerified, Intelius, and Spokeo.
What Free Phone Lookup Apps Offer
Not all apps are created equal, and some are better than others. I have done extensive research on free apps using known information. It is common to receive bad or incomplete information. I have routinely encountered the following issues:
Faulty or Outdated Information
Approximately 50% of the information found on free phone lookup sites is outdated or incorrect. I searched my personal information and received an address from 12 years ago. There were ancient phone numbers and a list of relatives and associates that are complete strangers to me. I have used the same process on at least five other people with the same results.
Lack of Address
Many sites mask the address unless you pay for premium service.
No Cell Phone Number
Complete cell phone directories are practically non-existent. Directories that exist are incomplete and are not up to date.
No Reverse Lookup
I use an iPhone reverse cell phone lookup app on a regular basis. Unknown callers clog my phone daily and I want to search the numbers. Free sites will offer to look up the number but give old information or require you to pay for the caller’s name and location.
Why Isn’t it Free?
The sites that offer free information get it from other websites. They make no investment in obtaining or culling information. They simply share a database. Sites that offer accurate information must pay to keep the information current, therefore they pass the fee along to the end user. If you require up to date information and the ability to do a reverse lookup, spend a few dollars and be sure the results are correct.
Image searches are quickly becoming part of everyday life. We use them to look at the latest fashions, find family or friends, or learn the name of a snazzy car we saw on the street. No longer do we have to wonder about anything. Simply snap and upload a picture to one of a dozen image search sites or apps.
How Does it Work?
Most tech savvy people are familiar with image searches. It is a specialized search used to locate digital images. There are several ways to conduct an image search.
- Image meta search – search of digital images based on metadata including keywords, text, etc.
- Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) – the application used colors, shapes, and textures to identify images rather than relying on keywords and text.
In simple terms, an application or website can use algorithms to identify parts of a photograph and relate them to like content online. The system takes the guesswork out of attempting to find a person or item using keywords. For example, if you see a photograph on a website and want to learn more about the item, you can use an image search to get the name, photographer, or other important information. If a dress in a store window catches your eye, you can take a photo and perform a search that will tell you the name of the designer or other stores in your area or online that carry the item. The goal of many image search companies is to allow their users to search items via pictures rather than words, which may result in irrelevant answers.
Aside from identifying a piece of clothing, image searches can be beneficial for other reasons. Image searches can help you to:
- Locate the source of an image
- Find a higher resolution version of the image
- Get links to web pages where the image appears
- Locate the content creator
- Get more information about the image
- Search identity of persons online
- Find products and services
- Search artwork
- Research travel destinations
Just as iPhone phone number trace services continue to expand, image search developers continue to create bigger and better search engines to entice users to buy their products. Image search engines have recently enabled extensions to be added to browsers to make searching even easier. One click of a button can net the user information on products all over the Internet. Current extensions include Noobox for Chrome and “Search by Image” for Firefox. Each allows you to right-click on an image and choose between different reverse-image tools.
Some popular sites:
Google’s Search by Image allows users to search for images by uploading an image retrieved from a website or by entering an image URL. The system compares the image with billions of other images located in Google’s databases before returning results.
Google has released a new way to search images. The new app for Android and IOS utilizes a powerful search engine to give users information on items around them. Not only does it identify the image, but adds relevant data that might be of interest to the user. This app is similar to Google Goggles.
TinEye is a top search engine that specializes in reverse image searches. The user submits an image to the app, and then TinEye creates a “unique and compact digital signature or fingerprint” of the image before matching it to like images.
Pinterest is at the forefront of the image search field. In 2014, it acquired VisualGraph and introduced the ability to conduct image searches on its site. By using reverse image search technology, Pinterest can extract features from fashion items, e.g., pants, shoes, bags, dress, glasses, jewelry, shorts, swimsuits, and offer product recommendations on items that are similar.
eBay ShopBot uses a reverse image search to locate products by interpreting a user’s uploaded photo.
Russia’s answer to Bing’s search engine will often give comprehensive results although they tend to be more similar than exact in identifying items.
The best image search engines work well on a desktop or laptop computer, but are often lacking when it comes to mobile devices. The upload feature may be disabled, or the pictures will not upload. There are some image search engine titans who are building search features into apps to make the process less painful. Until then, users may have to try their luck, use the desktop version of the sites or turn on their computers.
Free or Pay?
Many image search engines are free, but there are some that charge a small fee, either to search a specific item or as a monthly membership. Read the fine print before you search to avoid any surprises.
Nearly everyone has someone that they’ve lost touch with over the years, whether it’s a classmate, neighbor, aunt, love interest or favorite teacher. Searching for those we’ve lost touch with is made easier through technology. While tracking down those that have moved away might not be easy, searching for family and friends could be just a click away.
Searching through phone apps for information can be arduous unless you pick the right one. Be cautious of those that claim free services and then ask for credit card information. An iPhone cell number lookup can be helpful when it comes to searching for phone numbers or addresses, given you know the area in which your target resides or works.
Google, Bing and other search engines are fountains of information when searching for old acquaintances or lost loved ones. Find work related posts, social media information, addresses, or phone numbers.
Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and LinkedIn, making it easier than ever before to find those absent from your life. These sites make it easy to connect and save you the potential awkwardness of making a phone call or an in-person visit. Additionally, social media allows you to share information and photos that reach across the miles.
Keep in mind that when searching for someone on certain social media sites, the person you are searching may find out about the request. If you want to keep it private, choose another method first.
Message boards may seem a bit outdated when searching for someone, but they still work. Boards attached to specific interest sites, public news sites, family locator, or genealogy sites have a lot to offer.
School Yearbook Sites
There are people in certain occupations that do not use social media or have their contact information in search engines. In that case, checking out their school yearbook site may yield the answer. If not, it may be easy to connect with a mutual friend or classmate who knows how to get in touch.
Searching for your long-lost great aunt? Chances are she may not be on social media or any of the search engines. While genealogy sites could help, your best bet may be to contact your relatives and ask if they know how to contact Great Aunt Bessie. Technology is still your friend when it comes to finding her phone number or locating her house, and who knows? Maybe you’ll start sharing photos and stories online.
This option seems invasive for a standard search, but there are plenty of background check websites ready to give up personal information on almost anyone for a price. Background checks usually include a phone number, work history, known associates and relatives, and criminal history. It might be good information to have but telling the long-lost friend or family member that you ran a background check probably won’t go over too well. You may want to use it as a last resort.
With more and more data breaches happening every year millions of Americans information was put at risk. You need to be on high alert for potential phishing scams. We’ll go over the best ways to protect yourself.
Monitor Your Credit Scores
Make an effort to check your credit scores every so often, doing so will allow you catch any sort of funny activity. If your credit score quickly changes, you can be sure that someone has most likely gotten ahold of your information and has been using your identity.
Be On Alert for Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are how scammers fill in the blanks when they have pieces of information about you. In the form of phone calls or emails, phishing scams will try to trick you into think they are coming from reputable companies, like PayPal or your bank.
The best way to protect yourself from these types of scams is to avoid unsolicited calls and hang up on callers that are asking for important and sensitive financial information. Use a iPhone caller ID to help you filter out unwanted phone calls. With emails, be sure to check for spelling mistakes and take a close look at the links included.
Additionally, avoid opening any files attached to emails that aren’t from trusted contacts. Files could potentially infect your device with hazardous malware.
Use Stronger Passwords
Passwords these days for your online accounts need to be strong and unique. This can be really difficult though. One thing that is recommended is using a sentence for a password, but this can get complicated and annoying if you frequently need to change it.
The best thing to do is use a password vault. There are many to choose from, one good one is LastPass. With LastPass you can generate and store strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. You can even share access to some of your accounts.
You might think that phone scams aren’t something you need to worry about. Yes, you may have received weird calls in the past, but you’d never fall for any of them. There’s the IRS scam and free giveaway scams, but it’s pretty evident to you that these are scams. What if you got a different type of call though, one where someone claimed to have kidnapped your loved one. What would you do? The kidnapping phone scam is the latest (and scariest) phone scam happening in the United States.
What Is The Kidnapping Phone Scam?
The kidnapping phone scam targets families. In this scam you will get a call from someone claiming to have your loved one, usually a son or daughter. You may hear screaming in the background and the caller may know personal information like family members’ names and the area that you live in, all this makes their call more believable.
The caller will demand you wire them money immediately, or your family member will be injured or even worse killed. This is all designed to make you panic.
The caller will often get the information on you and your family from social media.
Protecting Yourself From This Scam
The best way to protect yourself from this frightening scam is to keep your social media accounts private and only share information with people you know and trust online. Refrain from publishing posts that divulge a lot of information publicly.
Another thing that you can do to protect yourself is keep a cool head, although this is very difficult to do.
- Ask the caller personal questions about the person that the person they say they have would only know.
- Try to get in touch with the person they say they have. While on the phone with the caller try to text the person they say they have or get someone else to call the person that they claim is kidnapped.
- Contact the police. Though the caller will tell you not to contact authorities, be sure to contact them.
If you ever get a call like this be sure to call your local authorities immediately. You can also filter your calls that you receive by running them through a white pages iPhone app. These apps will help you see if there are any phone scams associated with a certain phone number. There are many option in the App Store and in Google Play so give a few a try!
Dating apps have become quite popular recently. You may even know couples that have met via online dating apps and are now married! If you’re a single person and looking to meet a new person, you need to try online dating. However, it’s important to verify the identity of the person that you’re going to meet. The best way to do this is by running a reverse phone lookup on the person you’re going on a date with.
We’ll go over the best ways to stay safe with online dating and get the most out of it.
How To Choose The Right Dating App
There are many options for dating apps and it’s important that you pick the right one. Once you feel that you’ve found the right app you’ll need to make a profile.
After this you’ll start matching with and talking to new people in your area. It’s important for you to keep yourself safe when meeting people in person.
Reverse Phone Lookups And Dating
Oftentimes the first piece of information that you’ll exchange with a new person you’re chatting with is your phone number.
You can then use a phone number to verify the identity of the person and make sure they are who they say they are. This can be done simply by using an app for unknown number look ups to search for information on a phone number.
Meeting In Person
Once you’ve talked to a person enough to get to know them you may decide to meet in person. It’s always best to meet in a public place with the person.
Make sure you take your own transportation in case you ever feel uncomfortable and want to leave. Trust your intuition and if you don’t feel good about the situation, leave.
It’s most important to be safe when using online dating, so use your best judgement.
If you have a phone number then you’ve definitely probably been targeted by a phone scammer. These annoying and potentially dangerous callers seek to steal your information and money. We’ll go over the most common and creative phone scams in the U.S. and how you can stop them. We’ll discuss the Do Not Call Registry and how reverse phone lookup apps can put a stop to these criminals.
IRS Phone Scam
The most common phone scam in the United States is the IRS scam. This scam targets all Americans and in it a caller claims to be an IRS agent and accuses their victim of owing taxes. The scammer will say that if the victim doesn’t pay, they’ll send police to arrest them.
This is a total scam, but it has a lot of success because many Americans are actually late in paying their taxes each year or may believe that they owe money. What’s important to remember is that you will always receive a registered letter from the IRS telling you that you owe money and you always have the right to dispute it.
Charity Phone Scam
Charity phone scams are annoying in that it’s difficult to tell whether or not the call is actually a scam. What is true though is that the telemarketing companies that charities use to fundraise will often take a cut of the donation as part of their fee. For this reason, it’s always best to donate directly to the charity of your choosing and check it first to make sure it’s reputable.
Free Giveaway Phone Scam
A lot of times these types of scams target the elderly, but they can really target anyone. Calls will promise anything from free Caribbean cruises to gift cards at major retailers. They can also offer free medical alert systems, cars, and even money. The one thing that all of these calls have in common is that they are a scam and want to get your information. It’s best to just ignore calls like these.
Ways To Avoid These Scams
The first thing you should do is make sure that your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. After you’ve done this, make sure you report any unwanted and suspicious calls to the proper authorities. The majority of phone scams can be reported to the FTC. IRS calls should be reported to TIGTA.
Download A Reverse Phone Lookup App
Another way to start avoiding calls like this is to download a iPhone caller ID app. Apps like this will help you decide what calls are worth picking up. The less you answer scammer phone calls and interact with them, the less they will target you.
Months ago, warnings about the “Can you hear me?” scam were released by the FCC. Scammers will call victims will call victims and ask them questions like “Can you hear me?”, “Do you own a house?”, etc. Once the victim answers “yes” the scammer will hang up. Unbeknownst to the call recipient the phone conversation has been recorded and their “yes” response will be used to sign them up for unwanted services. Read on to learn more about the scam and how you can stop it with unknown number lookups apps.
Your phone rings, you pick it up and the caller asks “Can you hear me?”. You reply “yes” and the caller then hangs up. Seems strange right? It’s possible that you’ve just been scammed. It’s been reported that the caller will then use the recordings of you saying yes to gain access to credit card information and charge you for fraudulent services that you never agreed to. They will play back your affirmative answers as proof that you agreed to the purchases.
Additionally, this could also be a way for scammers to find active phone numbers. Once you’ve interacted with the call they’ll then call you more and in attempts to scam you in other ways.
The website Snopes found no actual money being reported as lost in this type of scam, but it’s still important to be alert to the possibility.
How to Protect Yourself With Unknown Number Lookups Apps
If you receive a call like this where you are being asked questions by an unknown caller just hang up. You can help protect yourself by using iPhone cell phone trace app to identify mysterious phone calls. Instead of answering calls from numbers that you don’t know allow them to go to voicemail. Then check your voicemail to see who it was.
If no voicemail was left, chances are that the call was a spam one. By not answering you’ve avoided scammers and shown them that your number is a dead end. Hopefully, over time they’ll stop calling so much.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of the “Can you hear me?” scam, you should report it to the FCC.