Top spammers and scammers in Malaysia by anti-spam mobile app Truecaller


If you’ve been getting a flood of automated phone calls lately about outstanding traffic summonses or a parcel delivery you know nothing about, here’s the likely reason.

Statistics from an anti-spam mobile application show that over the past 12 months, Macau, parcel and other scam syndicates have been making more calls to trick Malaysians into handing over money.

Truecaller – which claims to have 150 million daily active users worldwide – said there has been a 24% jump in the average number of spam calls received by its one million users in Malaysia this year compared to 2018.

The mobile app, which has offices in Sweden, the United States and India, said it has helped users in Malaysia identify and block 90 million spam calls so far this year, typically from telemarketers offering telecommunications, insurance and credit card products and services.

Scam calls are a form of fraudulent activity with the goal of stealing the victim’s money.

Last year, scam calls – including those by Macau Scam syndicates – made up a mere 1% of spam calls received by the app’s Malaysian users.

This year, the figure has ballooned to a whopping 63%, according to the Truecaller Insights 2019 report.

The Macau, parcel and “Astro” scams are among the top scams in the country over the past year, the report noted.
The modus operandi of a Macau Scam is by impersonating someone with authority, such as a policeman or a bank officer, and convince the victims over the phone that they need to pay money to avoid trouble.

For parcel scams (which are also sometimes referred to in Malaysia as love scams), the scammer would strike up a relationship with the victims online, and then convince them to send money so that a parcel said to contain a valuable gift for the victim can be “released by authorities”.

In the Astro scam, someone impersonating a representative from the satellite TV provider would call a potential victim to deliver a warning.

“Input we’ve gotten is that they would say you have an unpaid bill and that needs to be paid right away, otherwise you’ll be reported for it, ” a Truecaller representative said.

The report’s findings are reflected in official figures on losses suffered by the victims.

Police statistics show that of the five currently active syndicated commercial crime cases this year, investment scams took the number one spot, recording the biggest losses at RM200.78mil, with Macau Scam in second and parcel scams third.

On Nov 12, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said 1,911 Malaysians lost RM94.04mil to Macau Scam this year, while 1,303 lost RM67.74mil to parcel scams.

According to the Truecaller report, Malaysia is the mobile app’s 19th most spammed country. In first place is Brazil, where Truecaller users receive an average of 45.6 unsolicited calls a month, followed by Peru (30.9), Indonesia (27.9), Mexico (25.7) and India (25.6).

While Malaysia may not be the most spammed country it does hold another unsavoury record.

“Analysing this year’s data, we can see that Malaysia is the market that receives the biggest percentage of scam calls in the world, ” the report said.

Malaysia is trailed by Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), Canada (48%), and South Africa (39%).

The police have a Facebook account, Cyber Crime Alert Royal Malaysia Police (https://www.facebook.com/CyberCrimeAlertRMP/) to warn the public about scams.

A web portal set up by the police, http://ccid.rmp.gov.my/semakmule, allows people to verify telephone numbers and bank accounts that could be used for scamming.

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Spam calls up by nearly a quarter in Malaysia: anti-spam mobile app Truecaller

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has seen a 24% rise in the number of unsolicited (spam) calls this year which includes those from Macau Scam syndicates, according to anti-spam mobile application Truecaller.

Truecaller – which claims to have 150 million users worldwide – said its one million daily active users in Malaysia received more than 90 million spam calls so far this year that the app managed to block.

“Over the past 12 months Malaysia has seen a 24% increase of spam calls, going from 6.7 spam calls per month to 8.3,” the Truecaller Insights 2019 report said.

The report said Malaysia ranked 19th among Truecaller market countries in terms of the number of spam calls.
Brazil tops the list, with Truecaller users in the country getting an average of 45.6 spam calls this year.

In second place is Peru (30.9), followed by Indonesia (27.9), Mexico (25.7) and India (25.6).

Spam calls are divided into several categories which include scam calls such as those by the Macau, parcel and “Astro scam” syndicates.

Other types of spam calls include those by telemarketers offering telecommunications, insurance and credit card products and services.

The MO for a Macau scam is that the scammer would impersonate someone with authority such as a policeman or a bank officer over the phone and convince the victim that they need to pay money to avoid trouble.

For parcel scams (which are also sometimes referred to in Malaysia as love scams), the scammer would strike up a friendship or relationship with the victim online and then convinces them to send money or entice the victim with a parcel delivery.

In the “Astro scam”, someone impersonating a representative from the satellite tv provider would call to warn the potential victim of a supposedly unpaid bill which needs to be settled immediately to prevent a report from being lodged.

The Truecaller report noted that Malaysia is the top country where the biggest percentage of unsolicited phone calls comprises of scam calls.

“Analysing this year’s data, we can see that Malaysia is the market that receives the biggest percentage of scam calls in the world.

On Nov 12, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman said 1,911 Malaysians lost RM94.04mil to Macau scams this year while another 1,303 lost RM67.74mil to parcel scammers.

The Truecaller report said that other than Malaysia, other top countries with the highest percentages of scam calls include Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), Canada (48%) and South Africa (39%).

The police have a Facebook account, Cyber Crime Alert Royal Malaysia Police to warn the public about scams, as well as a portal for people to verify telephone numbers and bank account numbers that could be used by syndicates carrying out such scams.
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China sanctions US over Hong Kong


The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for resupply, which could cost more, experts noted.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the first wave of countermeasures against the US on Monday since the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and continued its interference in China’s domestic affairs in the city.

The move includes suspending visits of US warships and aircraft to the city and sanctioning multiple US-headquartered non-governmental organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Human Rights Watch. Chinese experts said that some US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao who have connections with the targeted NGOs could be expelled as these organizations’ activities in Hong Kong could be deemed illegal in the future.

From a logistic perspective, suspending visits of US warships and aircraft will force US military forces to find other ports in the region for maintenance, which could cost more, experts noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a routine press conference on Monday that China would suspend its reviews of applications made by US military aircraft and naval vessels to make port calls in Hong Kong after US President Donald Trump signed the so-called Hong Kong act, which allows Washington to impose sanctions on individuals over alleged human rights violation in Hong Kong.

Hua said China will also sanction NGOs including NED, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House and Human Rights Watch for their “horrible activities in the months-long turmoil in the city.”

“A great amount of evidence proving that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces to create chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts, and also hyped separatism activities in Hong Kong,” she said.

“They have a huge responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price.”

“NED is a notorious organization that plays a major role in funding color revolutions and training political activists worldwide to create trouble for many non-Western states,” said Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“The NDI and IRI are two organizations that mainly receive funding from NED, and the NDI follows political line of Democrats, while the IRI follows Republicans. Sanctioning these two NGOs sends the message that the two major parties are being targeted for initiating and passing the Hong Kong act,” said Diao Daming, a US studies expert at Renmin University of China.

A masked rioter is standing out among his group in a standoff with police outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, November 17, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Expulsion from HK

On questions as to what extent China can sanction these NGOs, Chinese experts said that due to the “one-country, two systems” policy, these organizations are allowed to operate in Hong Kong without restrictions, but since they are using this to harm China’s national interests, their activities and cash flow in Hong Kong could be frozen.

Diao said “These NGOs could be identified as illegal organizations, so not only their personnel, but US diplomats at the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao could be affected.”

Staff member of those NGOs will be restricted from entering Chinese territory, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and those NGOs’ operations in HKSAR will also likely be limited, said Fan Peng from the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

Fan said that imposing restrictions on those organizations’ operations hits external forces to the very core and helps to ward off their influence in Hong Kong, as those organizations support the rioters.

If the US government uses the authorization provided by the US Congress to conduct further interference in Hong Kong, China will surely raise its retaliation, Lü said.

China could investigate US diplomats connected to the listed NGOs, or even directly involved with their local funding targets and provided training and assistance, and these diplomats could be expelled if they don’t stop making trouble in the city, Diao noted.

Military ties harmed

China, in the past, allowed the US vessels and aircraft to visit and resupply in Hong Kong since the coastal city is a perfect port in the West Pacific region, and serves as a strategic hub. But now, due to US intervention in the Hong Kong situation, US military forces will lose their right to use this hub and need to spend more resources to get supplies in other ports in the region, Chinese experts said.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday that whether China allows US warships to conduct port visits in Hong Kong has been a barometer of the two countries’ political and military relations.

Now that China has decided to suspend the port visits, it means China and the US have suffered a significant decline in political and military ties, which have been caused by US violations of China’s sovereignty and interference in China’s internal affairs, as it is challenging the one-China principle by publicly supporting Hong Kong secessionists, Song said.

A US warship port call to Hong Kong now will send a very wrong signal to Hong Kong rioters, and China is absolutely right to turn down visit requests, take resolute action and counter the US for its provocation, Song said.

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China’s 70th National Day: No force can stop country’s progress, says Xi Jinping

BEIJING – China held its largest display of military force with a parade along its main Chang’an Avenue as the nation celebrated 70 years of communist rule.

Under hazy skies on Tuesday morning (Oct 1), President Xi Jinping, in a Mao suit and flanked by his two precedessors, former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, appeared on Tiananmen, or Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Addressing the nation, President Xi spoke of how Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong had stood in the same spot 70 years ago and declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China, paving the way for the country to embark on the path of the “great rejuvenation” of China.

“No power can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and nation,” he said, to cheers from the thousands of flag-waving Chinese who had gathered at Tiananmen Square.

An aerial display welcomed by wild cheers from the audience
Unlisted

Mr Xi urged loyalty to the Communist Party’s leadership and again vowed that Beijing will abide by the “one country, two systems”  model to ensure Hong Kong and Macau’s continued prosperity, as well as promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

“Yesterday’s China has been written into the history books. Today’s China is being created by more than one billion people. Tomorrow’s China will be even better,” he said, urging unity and the fulfilment of the two centennial goals.

The Chinese leader had vowed to restore the country to greatness – by making China a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021, and for it to become a “fully developed, rich and powerful nation” by 2049.

These two centennial goals – 2021 marks 100 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and 2049, the centenary of the founding of PRC – have been Mr Xi’s overarching vision since he took power in 2012.

The celebrations on Tuesday culminate in a gala show in the evening complete with fireworks.

The display of China’s military might in the morning was a picture of pride for the Chinese audience.

“I had taken taken part in one of the dress rehearsals for the parade and even then it was a stirring sight to see the Chinese military. Today’s atmosphere feels even better,” said civil servant Li Yidong, 27, adding that the showcase “is also a window to show the world China’s national power”.

Mr Li Xuguang, 29, who works in the security industry, said he was already very excited when planes flew past his home during the parade in 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“Watching them today is even better,” said Mr Li.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets started the week on a weak note amid escalating trade war concerns after the US and China announced plans for additional tariffs against each other.

Locally, the FBM KLCI stayed in negative territory for the whole of yesterday, before paring losses to close 8.8 points or 0.55% lower at 1,600.53 points. Before the closing, the index hovered below 1,595, falling 1.17% to an intraday low of 1,590.51.

Despite the fall, the local index was among the least affected by the regional selldown, compared with other Asian indices. The biggest loser among the regional indices was Japan’s Nikkei 225, falling 2.17% to 20,261.04. This was followed by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Taiwan Stock Exchange, down 1.91% and 1.74% respectively. India’s Sensex notably closed 2.16% higher.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times Index was the biggest decliner, down 1.45% at 3,065.33, and the Jakarta Composite index closed 0.66% lower at 6,214.51.

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump announced an additional duty on some US$550 billion worth of targeted Chinese goods, following China’s move to hike trade levies on US$75 billion worth of US goods.

Trump said US tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese imports will increase from 25% to 30% on Oct 1, while an additional 5% tax on US$300 billion worth of Chinese goods — raising the tariff to 15% from 10% — starts on Sept 1.

The president made it clear that the US was responding to China’s threat of additional tariffs on US$75 billion of goods including soybeans, automobiles and oil.

“This looks like a tit-for-tat [response] and I don’t see an easy resolution to the trade war, as there seems to be no middle ground between the US and China. It is very unsettling for the market because there is no direction from day to day,” said Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew.

However, the tensions eased a bit towards the later part of yesterday, as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China was willing to resolve the trade dispute through calm negotiations, stating the nation was against the escalation of the conflict.

Trump responded positively to China’s suggestion and, on the sidelines of a summit in France, had hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as a great leader and welcomed the latter’s desire for calm negotiations.

It remains to be seen how the trade dispute will be resolved, given the constant retaliatory tariffs between the two economic behemoths since early last year.

Several trade talks between the two nations have not brought any solutions to the trade war, still affecting investor sentiments towards global markets. For the KLCI, the trade war remains a major factor affecting analysts’ forecasts.

Kenanga Research said the index’s underlying trend remains bearish but does not discount the possibility of a technical rebound as the KLCI has been in oversold territory for about a month. “Look out for overhead resistance levels at 1,630 and 1,650. If selling pressure continues, the key support levels to keep an eye on are 1,570 and 1,550,” Kenanga Research wrote in a note yesterday. – Source link
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Clout eroded as US shirks intl duties

I think it’s necessary to include something Liu once said that also applies here, “The world needs a new America. It needs an America that is free of prejudice and intolerance. It needs an America that understands respect, that matches words with deeds, that understands the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety,
wisdom, and faithfulness. The world would be lucky if the new America could become such a country.”

Why are the Chinese brushing aside Trump’s tweets?

Trump has turned Twitter into a stage for his political show, where he says things to gain votes for reelection. He repeats what he has done for the US – to provide Americans welfare, and to “make America great again.” But he is actually damaging the interests of his own country and people.

China unfazed by swaying US policies

In today’s world of production patterns, no country can marginalize China anymore. Whichever country forcibly cuts economic ties with China will only harm itself. After Trump tweeted, he received almost one-sided opposition and doubts, which showed how inappropriate was his unrealistic proposal.

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The past few months have been sad and depressing for those who live in Hong Kong. The safety guaranteed on the streets of Beijing and Xi’an should be available to the people of Hong Kong. China should not be asked to compromise its sovereignty. If Americans want to boycott anyone, they should do so with their politicians who support the
Hong Kong unrest.

West will shed no tears for Hong Kong

Many Hongkongers are confusing right from wrong while Western public opinion constantly delivers the ideological energy that the radical protesters need. The West has shed no tears for Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, which had gone through similar hardships. Now, it is turning Hong Kong into the forefront of the struggle with China, and, as usual, they will shed no tears for the city’s misery.

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US divides China by playing risky Taiwan card with arms sales that will lead to serious consequences and puts Taiwan at risk


New U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and rising trends of ‘white supremacy’ in the U.S.

White House playing wrong card in its risky game with China

Following its $2.2 billion arms deal with Taiwan that was announced on July 9, the United States Department of State has reportedly “informally” notified corresponding House and Senate committees that it supports the sale of F-16 fighter jets to the island.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government has lodged “solemn representations” against the $8 billion deal, as it has each time arms sales to the island have been proposed or carried out.

That is because they seriously violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the Aug 17, 1982, communiqué, and interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out on Monday.

Of course, should the deal get the green light and be inked by both Washington and Taipei, the actual delivery will not take place for several years.

Even if they were to be delivered immediately, 66 F-16s will do very little to change the military imbalance between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

Given the mainland’s asymmetrical and constantly enlarging military advantage against Taiwan, rather than constituting a severe security challenge to the mainland, the surplus F-16s to be sold to Taiwan represent a matter of principle in Beijing’s eyes. It holds sovereignty over Taiwan to be a “core interest” as well as a diplomatic redline in its relations with foreign countries.

Not to mention there is the legitimate concern that the Washington may be employing the arms sales to Taiwan, along with the ongoing protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, as bargaining chips in its trade talks with Beijing.

However, playing the Taiwan card will more likely than not ruin the prospect of a deal rather than facilitate it. As Beijing has repeatedly stated, a deal will not be made at the expense of such a key national interest.

The only thing the proposed arms sale can do is to send what Washington has time and again been warned are the “wrong messages” to Taipei, encouraging it to edge further toward a military showdown with the mainland, the outcome of which is easily predictable. Such a scenario would be detrimental to Taiwan, the mainland and the US.

Given it announced it would impose sanctions on the companies involved in the July deal, Beijing’s response to the latest arms sales has actually been disproportionally restrained so far considering the severity of the matter.

But Washington should stop its grave interference in China’s internal affairs, cease selling arms to the island and end all military contacts with it, otherwise China will have to take measures to safeguard its interests depending on how the situation develops. Source link

US arms sales to Taiwan will lead to serious consequences 

 

Gun and Freedom

 

US President Donald Trump confirmed Sunday that he has approved the sale of $8 billion worth of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan. According to reports, the arms sales involved 66 fighters of this type, and it was believed that the deal will pass smoothly in US Congress.

It would be the largest single US arms sale to Taiwan in recent years. In 1992, the Bush administration decided to sell 150 F-16A/B fighter jets worth $6 billion to Taiwan. That deal wreaked havoc on Sino-US relations.

Objectively, with the PLA’s combat capability constantly increasing, even if Taiwan spends all defense budgets to buy US weapons, it will have no real impact on the military situation across the Taiwan Straits. Taiwan is no longer a military rival of the Chinese mainland. The PLA has the ability to disarm the Taiwan military in a very short time. US arms sales to Taiwan cannot change this basic reality.

However, US arms sales to Taiwan have become the biggest link in strengthening political relations between the US and the island of Taiwan.

Beijing has been consistently opposing US arms sales to Taiwan. This time the Trump administration is doing what the Bush administration did 27 years ago, and it comes at a time of tensions between China and the US. It is expected that China will take strong countermeasures.

The Chinese mainland can take steps in two directions. First, it can crank up military pressure on Taiwan, so that it will become a political liability for Tsai ing-wen and her administration. Second, the more weapons Taiwan buys, the greater the risk. Whoever pushes for arms purchases will suffer politically. The Chinese mainland must act firm to establish a new political understanding of Taiwan’s military purchases.

There are many measures that the Chinese mainland can take in this regard. To date, promoting peaceful reunification has been the basic purpose of the mainland’s cross-Strait policies. China’s policy toward Taiwan can be changed, given the worsening cross-Strait relations by Taiwan authorities. Ratcheting up military pressure is another option for China.
It is very dangerous to use force to resist reunification and serve as a strategic pawn of the US, especially at a time of serious tensions between China and the US.

Beijing should insist that the money for the F-16V sold by the US be deducted from its trade with China. The twists and turns of China-US economic and trade negotiations tell us that the US has no bottom-line, and the longer the battle against it lasts, the more likely it will increase our losses.

We suggest that China directly link US arms sales to Taiwan with China’s purchase of US agricultural products in the future. China will buy less US agricultural products for every weapon the US sells to Taiwan. If we make that decision, and stick with it for a few years, it will be American farmers versus arms dealers. It won’t be long before there is a domestic backlash in the US against arms sales to Taiwan.

It is a long process from the signing of the arms sales contract between the US and island of Taiwan to its implementation. We must not allow this contract to be implemented comfortably between both parties. We must make both the island of Taiwan and Washington suffer because of it. Source link

 

Arms purchase puts Taiwan at risk 

 

The US State Department formally announced on Tuesday that the US government had decided to sell $8 billion in military equipment, including 66 new F-16V fighter jets, to the island of Taiwan. The plan still needs congressional approval but it is unlikely to be turned down.

This is the largest-ever US arms sale to the island, which will definitely impact the China-US relations and the situation across the Taiwan Straits.

Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen’s authorities consider the arms purchase a big political score and will try to use it to convince Taiwan people that the US is reliable in protecting the island and that the radical policy of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is secure, hoping the arms sale could help get Tsai reelected as the regional leader in 2020.

Taiwan’s military buildup is meaningless when compared with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which is getting increasingly stronger. Most analysts believe that it will only take the PLA hours to take down the island if the mainland resorts to force. It doesn’t matter what weapons the island has purchased.

What Taiwan needs most to keep itself safe is to hold the political bottom line rather than picking a wrong path that leads to the extreme condition, in which the PLA has no alternative but to take decisive action. The major arms purchase could probably bring the island greater risks instead of security.

Taiwan must never try to promote de jure independence. If the island goes toward the direction with the salami-slicing strategy, it will only accumulate risks for itself. Taiwan must not act as a puppet of the US to contain the Chinese mainland. Otherwise, it will only find a dead end. The US won’t be able to protect it and the Chinese mainland will definitely not let it have its way.

Taiwan considers Chinese mainland-US tensions an opportunity to develop its ties with the US. The island has been trying to get involved in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, proactively enhancing its role as a leverage of the US to strategically contain the Chinese mainland. It is a very risky move.

The higher cost and the risk of resorting to force is an important reason the Chinese mainland upholds peaceful reunification. Once the island’s authorities, by cooperating with the US, sharply increase the mainland’s cost of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Straits, the mainland will certainly reconsider its peaceful reunification policy and deliberate on other options.

If the Taiwan authorities insist on going their own way, the PLA will likely take action against the island to either liberate the island or deter and alert Taiwan secessionist forces. If the island’s authorities are bent on their wrong way, the mainland will increase military pressure on the island. Simultaneously, the probability of cross-Straits military frictions will grow, which will boost the likelihood that the PLA will take forceful military measures to punish the island. The DPP will pay for its ventures. Source link

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How to outsmart smartphone scammers ?


You carry your smartphone everywhere. But the way you use it could leave you vulnerable to specific forms of identity theft, including robocall scams and hackers looking to hijack your phone number. — AP

Your smartphone is your confidante, your hand-held connection to the world – and one of your biggest vulnerabilities.

Scammers can take advantage of day-to-day tasks that seem innocuous, like checking a bank balance or charging a phone at a public USB port, to exploit personal information for their profit.

To keep that data safe, start by understanding the threats you face. Your phone has three main areas of vulnerability: its hardware, its software and your phone number. Each carries a risk, and there are steps you can take to mitigate them. Hardware vulnerability

A four-digit passcode alone isn’t enough to secure your phone’s hardware from intruders.

One weakness comes from the charging port. Think twice before plugging into a public USB jack for a quick charge at a cafe or airport.

“Any time you’re using a mobile port, you can be vulnerable to viruses or malware if you’re sharing it with other people who are plugging in their devices,” says Lisa Schifferle, ID theft programme manager at the US Federal Trade Commission.

Using a public charging port at an airport is like “finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth”, Caleb Barlow, vice president of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security, recently told Forbes .

Hackers can modify these ports to install malevolent software, aka malware, on your phone. Once installed, it can transfer your phone’s data to hackers. The hacked USB ports can also directly suck up your phone’s information. To avoid the risk, use your USB cord with your own charging block that can plug into a standard electrical outlet, or use an external battery pack.

For daily security, go beyond the four-digit passcode if possible, says Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at the cybersecurity company McAfee. “Passcodes aren’t as effective as biometrics, like fingerprint readers or facial recognition software, because people can do shoulder surfing to see your passcode and get into your phone” if they steal it.

Software and network risks

Scammers can target your personal information using unsecured wireless networks and software vulnerabilities.

Network risks: Be wary of public WiFi networks.

“We advise against using public WiFi, but if you’re going to use it, avoid logging in to sensitive accounts,” says Allen Spence, director of product leadership at IDShield, an identity theft protection company.

To protect yourself from inadvertently using insecure WiFi networks, adjust your phone settings to avoid auto-connecting to WiFi.

Software: Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in phone software. Schifferle of the FTC suggests consumers routinely check for and download software updates for their phones, because updates often include security patches.

Phone number vulnerabilities

There are two common ways that scammers target your phone number: robocall scams and phone number theft.

Robocalls: US consumers fielded nearly 48 billion robocalls in 2018, according to an estimate from robocall blocking service YouMail. That was a 57% increase from 2017.

A common scam comes from supposed representatives of the US Social Security Administration requesting you give your personal information or your benefits will be cut. If you get a call from a number you don’t recognise, don’t answer. That’s the best way to ensure you don’t get caught up in a phone scam. And know that government agencies won’t call you out of the blue seeking your personal information.

“You should never give personal info or money unless you have initiated the call,” Schifferle says. If you answer a call and realise it may be a scammer, hang up, she advises.

If you suspect your personal information was stolen by scammers, file a report with the FTC at identitytheft.gov .

Phone number theft: Scammers are stealing phone numbers, which can leave you vulnerable to other forms of identity theft.

The scam is clever: A malevolent actor calls your cellphone carrier pretending to be you, and after confirming some key information such as your mother’s maiden name, transfers your phone number to their device. You may not find out this has happened until you go to make a call and find that your SIM card has been deactivated.

Because phone numbers are often used as security keys, hackers may be able to get into many other accounts once they have access to your phone account. Make it harder to penetrate by avoiding common security questions, Davis says. “When you set up your security questions and answers, make sure you’re using really challenging questions that are going to be hard to figure out.” – NerdWallet/AP – Source link 

RELATED LINKS:
NerdWallet: Do you need identity theft protection services? http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-compares-identity-theft-protection-services
Forbes: Why you should never use airport USB charging stations http://bit.ly/forbes-airport-usb-stations
FTC: Report identity theft https://www.identitytheft.gov/
Sean Pyles Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press

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Trump is the biggest threat


Not much help: Despite his use of
tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US firms, the very
industries Trump has tried to help have become the weakest links in the
otherwise solid economy.

WASHINGTON: At rallies and whistle-stop campaign tours, President Donald Trump proclaims a renaissance in US factories rebuilding the nation with “American steel”, “American heart” and “American hands”.

But in reality, despite his relentless use of punitive tariffs to help skew the playing field in favour of US companies, the very industries he has tried to help have become the weakest links in the otherwise solid economy.

With just over a year to go before he faces re-election, Trump takes credit for the most vigorous economy in the industrialised world, with the expansion entering its 11th year and historically low unemployment.

But while services and office jobs dominate the US economy, Trump continues to promote the factory and mining jobs that were the lifeblood of the economy in the last century.

“American steel mills are roaring back to life,” he declared last month in Florida – the same day US Steel announced it would idle plants in Michigan and Indiana until “market conditions improve”.

And to West Virginians he said, “The coal industry is back.”

But in fact each of the sectors Trump has championed – coal mining, steel, aluminium and auto manufacturing – have been buffeted by a combination of market forces and changing technologies – factors beyond his control – or damaged by the very things he did to protect them, economists and analysts say.

Last month, a national survey of manufacturing activity hit its lowest level in nearly three years – narrowly avoiding slipping into contraction – while regional surveys have also seen record declines.

In March, the number of workers in US manufacturing shrank for the first time in nearly two years and it is now growing more slowly than the rest of the American workforce.

Trump has imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions in imports, renegotiated trade agreements and dangled the threat of worse over China and Europe and Mexico – all while publicly browbeating companies that close US factories or move production offshore.

But weak foreign demand, a strong US dollar and a decades-long evolution away from domestic manufacturing have progressively shrunk America’s industrial sector, said Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

Trump’s world trade war has not helped either.

“The policies that have been implemented in terms of protectionism have hurt the very sectors they were meant to protect. There’s no escaping that,” Daco said. – AFP/The Star

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