Have you ever had a stranger call you, and say that they’re returning a call that you know you never made? If so, you may have found yourself wondering what on earth is going on! A lot of people right now are searching for answers to the baffling situation of, “people calling saying I called them,” when they know they never placed that call!
It’s odd and unsettling to be told that you’ve called somebody when you know that you haven’t. If this happens once or twice, you might put it down to coincidence, but if it’s a repeated occurrence, it can become worrying.
This exact scenario is one of the reasons that it’s so important to safeguard your phone number and keep it away from hackers. It’s not just about keeping yourself safe from scam calls; it can also keep you safe from being accused of making scam calls. If you aren’t careful, your phone number can become a valuable resource for hackers.
There are a lot of consequences associated with this, and you’ll be inadvertently helping scammers to pose as legitimate people – so what’s going on and how can you stop it?
Signs Your Phone Number May Be Compromised
First, let’s look at some of the key signs that indicate your phone number has been compromised by somebody. One of the biggest signs is if you see unusual activity on your phone bill or in your call history. Unexpected charges or calls to numbers you don’t recognize could be indicative of a problem.
Another thing to look out for is unexpected password reset requests or unexpected verification codes. If you keep getting indications that somebody is trying to reset your passwords, this may signify that somebody is using your phone number.
Getting a lot of calls from unfamiliar numbers can be a further sign something’s wrong, and if any of your friends or family message you saying they’ve noticed suspicious activity or asking if something’s the matter, you should definitely take note.
Your phone number being used in this way is a serious problem, so don’t ignore these key signs.
How to Detect Phone Number Spoofing
First, it’s important to understand what phone number spoofing is. This is a practice used by some scammers to make the caller ID display false information so that they can hide their identity. It’s intended to deceive the recipient of the call, who is more likely to pick up if the phone number looks familiar.
Number spoofing can make it look like a number is somewhere local to you when it’s not, or may make it appear like a company number that you may already be familiar with.
There are a few things that you can do to spot phone number spoofing, although there aren’t any foolproof ways of telling every time. The first thing you should do is check whether the number on the ID matches the number you’re expecting. If you recognize the display name, but not the number, this may be a sign that there’s something fishy going on.
Another good way to check whether the number that’s calling you is legitimate is to call the number back on a different phone while the caller is still on the line. If the number is not engaged, this indicates that the caller ID is being spoofed (unless it’s a business, which will often have multiple phone lines).
A third option involves looking up the number for the business online, and checking whether there are any discrepancies. If they’ve called from a number but a different number is listed online, this might indicate that you are being deceived.
You can also use tools like Number Tracker Pro to identify a spoofed call. Entering the number you’re being called by into the search will let you quickly and easily determine who it belongs to, and whether it has been reported as dangerous.
This isn’t a foolproof method, as the number may not be what it appears, but it’s certainly a good starting point and can help you determine whether the caller is likely to be legitimate or not.
Unusual Charges and Activities
It’s important to regularly check your phone bill for any unexpected charges or services. If you find calls you haven’t made or services that you didn’t ask for, there’s a chance that your number is being misused.
Similarly, if there’s irregular data usage on your phone, this can strongly imply that your phone is being hacked or otherwise interfered with by scammers. If you notice anything that you don’t recognize on your phone bill, get in touch with your service provider and talk to them about it.
It’s much better to err on the side of caution, even if the charges turn out to be legitimate. Prompt action can protect you and other people!
You should regularly review any accounts that are associated with your phone number, and enable two-factor authentication so that you have a double layer of security. Doing this makes you a much more difficult target for hackers.
If you get any notifications about suspicious logins on your account, pay attention. A lot of people dismiss these, but it’s again better to follow up and find that it’s a false alarm than to have your phone number compromised. Always check with the service provider that’s been in touch, and update your password if you think something is wrong.
Contacting Your Service Provider
The best person to get in touch with if you think that there is an issue with your phone is your mobile service provider. They are in the strongest position to help you verify whether anybody is using your phone number without authorization, or whether anything is wrong with your account.
Most service providers will have a customer service line that you can get in touch with, and they should be able to direct you to the right person to help. It’s often best to get assistance directly, rather than emailing or texting, as you’re more likely to get a prompt resolution.
You can report that you suspect your phone number is being used for spam calls, and they should be well equipped to assist you. Ask them about any additional security measures that can be taken to protect your account going forward.
Again, it’s better to do this if you’re concerned than to ignore the issue and do nothing. If there’s no problem, they can reassure you and discuss safety measures, and if there is a problem, they can step in and solve it.
There are also a few things that you can do to protect yourself and your phone number, both to prevent the problem and to tackle it if it arises.
The first of these involves changing the passwords to any accounts that are linked to your phone number. If your number has been compromised, there’s a chance that these accounts could also be compromised.
For extra security, it’s a good idea to regularly change these passwords, even if you don’t think there’s a problem with your account. This will reduce the risks and should help to keep your information secure. Don’t write passwords down on your computer, as this could also be compromised.
Next, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on some of the commonest phishing tactics, because recognizing them in advance is one of the best ways to avoid them. A lot of these scams are very sophisticated and hard to spot, but if you’ve heard about them ahead of time, you’re in a much better position to protect yourself.
You may also want to use a service like Number Tracker Pro to deal with any unknown numbers that call you. Number Tracker Pro lets you look up numbers online, verify who they belong to, and find out a bit about who’s calling.
Doing this before you respond to unknown callers can be a good way to protect yourself because you’ll be warned if a number is commonly associated with scams. It’s not a guaranteed safeguard, but it can make a big difference to your safety.
The top indicator that your phone number has been compromised is suspicious activity on your phone bill, so make a habit of regularly checking this. Make sure you also pay attention to any requests for verification codes or password resets that you haven’t triggered, which could be further warning signs.
If any of your friends or family members mention they’ve noticed suspicious activity, immediately contact your phone provider to find out what’s going on. The more vigilant you are, the harder you will be to target – so keep an eye on all of these signifiers, and respond promptly if something alarms you.
You should also practice general security, by not answering the phone to numbers you don’t recognize, and using tools like Number Tracker Pro to keep yourself safe online. This is one of the best ways to prevent your phone number from being used maliciously.