The Equifax Breach: Phone Spammers Take to the Phones Attempting to Scam Victims
Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States, informed the public late last week of its widespread data breach affecting 143 million consumers nationwide. If you have a credit report there is a good chance that you’re not only at risk for identity theft, but also for a major phone scam targeting victims of the Equifax data breach.
According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
The Equifax Scam: Phone Scammers Are Pretending to be Local Banks
While many victims of the breach scramble to freeze their credit and subscribe to fraud monitoring services, phone scammers have taken to the phones in attempts to steal personal or financial information from vulnerable consumers.
These phone scam artists call posing as your bank, credit card company, or credit union. The scam is designed to attempt to trick people into thinking their bank is informing them their financial data has been compromised, asking you provide information regarding your credit, banking information, or social security number in order to resolve the matter.
If you’ve confirmed or simply suspect your information has been compromised in the Equifax data breach, follow these tips can help to ensure you do not fall victim to the Equifax Phone Scam:
Beware of Spoofed Phone Numbers from your Local Area Code
Many times, phone scammers are successful in stealing victim’s personal identity or financial information over the phone because they call from fake numbers that look like they are from the target’s local area code. By calling from a number that may look like it’s from your local bank, consumers may be more inclined to believe the call is legitimate and therefore pick up the phone.
Neighbor spoofing, or NPA-NXX spoofing, is a phone hack that allows spam callers to call from numbers that are not their own, making their true identity nearly untraceable without advanced audio fingerprinting technology. Because it’s nearly impossible for your iPhone or Android to identify if this caller is really your bank or credit card company, the FTC recommends downloading a third party spam call blocking app that has the technology accessible to identify if the call is fraudulent.
Reporting Suspicious Equifax Scam Calls to the FTC Will Help Others, But Won’t Protect You
Though reporting a suspected Equifax scam call to government organizations such as the FCC and FTC may help prevent the scam artist from successfully stealing from other targets, it will not prevent them from calling you again – especially if you’ve answered the phone.
The FTC cannot easily trace the report you’ve filed primarily because of phone spoofing. Because this phone number provided in your report is not the true phone number that belongs to the scammer, it’s a lot more difficult to track than you might think. Instead, the FTC relies on analyzing the commonalities in the contents of the scam call and similarities in audio & voice recognition.
Therefore, if you do decide to be a stand-up citizen and report the suspicious or fraudulent call, providing an audio phone recording of the call to the FTC is immensely helping in tracking the offenders. If enough victims provide audio evidence to the Commission, they can use this evidence to analyze commonalities in the design of the scam to truly track & reprimand the offender.
Download a Spam-Call Blocking App on Your Smartphone
Because the Commission cannot support blocking scam & spam calls, (nor do they have the technological infrastructure to support it), downloading a smartphone app such as TrapCall is invaluable to ensure you are not at continued risk from the Equifax Phone Scam. The FCC even recommends it as the part of the most effective ways to prevent scam calls!
TrapCall is the #1 solution to ensure you are not at risk for the Equifax Phone Scam (or any other phone scams) because it goes beyond simply flagging incoming scam calls as many free apps do. TrapCall is the only spam call blocking app that offers a suite of tools needed to fight back against scammers attempting to steal from you over the phone, such as audio recording & reverse caller ID lookups.
TrapCall automatically flags incoming spam calls to alert you of potential scam artists calling in attempts to steal your money & personal identity. TrapCall then empowers you with the ability to perform a reverse caller ID lookup – even if the caller calls you from a blocked number. For calls that you do answer, TrapCall also allows you to record phone conversations as evidence of a scam attempt, of which you can provide when reporting the call to the FTC. With this toolset in your arsenal Equifax phone scammers do not stand a chance!
TrapCall is an easy investment to ensure your privacy and personal information is protected from annoying spam calls. Join the fight to stop the Equifax scammers for good, all while enjoying a scam call free smartphone!