To add legitimacy to their phony claims, scam artists often impersonate banks, government agencies, or other organizations. Phishing messages typically ask consumers to provide usernames and passwords, credit and debit card numbers, PINs, or other sensitive information that scam artists can use to commit fraud. While some spyware merely tracks your web surfing habits in hopes of learning your product preferences for marketing purposes, spyware can also be used by fraudsters to steal personal and financial information.
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Tech-savvy fraudsters also use software to capture keystrokes or pictures of your device's screen in the hope of snagging passwords, account numbers, Social Security numbers, or other sensitive information. If you receive a scam phishing message on your device, resist the urge to click on the link or phone number to call back. Phishing emails can be reported directly to your email provider, or can be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission at spam uce.
Be sure to include the complete spam email.
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Doing so allows these service providers to identify the senders of such messages and take steps to limit messages from them in the future. The criminals that create look-alike malware apps use the information they receive to commit the crimes of theft and identity theft. You can take steps to ensure the legitimacy of the apps on your smartphone or tablet by only buying or downloading apps from trusted sources.
If you let the caller remotely access your device, he may install malware or spyware to steal your personal and financial information.
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Consider access. If someone did have access, consider if it coincided with increased monitoring or stalking. Beware of gifts of a new smartphone or tablet from an abuser to you or your children. Lock your phone. Many devices allow you to choose between a number, pattern, thumbprint, or other security features.
Read more about Phone Security Tips. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. Download anti-virus and anti-spyware apps to your phone; these apps can help either prevent spyware from being installed or scan your phone for malware or spyware apps. Use security features on your phone. Most Android phones have a setting that allows installation from unknown sources.
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Turning this off will minimize the chances of apps outside of the Google Play store from being installed on the phone. Another feature on Android phones is to turn on Google Play Protect, which will scan for apps with malware and viruses, which can protect the phone from most spyware. In addition, always install the latest operating system updates for your phone, which often include security patches. Do not root for Android phones or jailbreak for iPhones your phone.
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On iPhones, most spyware cannot be installed unless it is jailbroken. A rooted or jailbroken phone will be more vulnerable to viruses and malware and make it easier for spyware to be installed. There are many other methods someone can use to access information on your phone without installing spyware. If the abusive person has physical access to the phone, they may not need to install spyware, which is mostly for remote access.
Many of the apps and accounts on phones can be accessible from another device if the abusive person knows the username or email and password. Phones can also be monitored through the iCloud account for iPhones and Google account for Android phones. Increase the security of those accounts by ensuring that no one else knows the username and password. Sometimes, an abusive person knows too much because of friends and family members. Look for patterns in what the person knows and where that information might have come from to help you to narrow down the possibilities.
An advocate can help you figure out what may be happening and plan next steps. Opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of DOJ. PhoneSpector is a powerful utility app that allows you to spy on a cell phone or any mobile device without having the device in your possession.
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