Dial F for Fraud: Mobile Technology, Safety and Security

For the first time last year, active mobile phones outnumbered people on the planet*. With more sophisticated applications being developed every day, people have become more reliant on their mobile phone than ever before, from using it for everything from taxi bookings to paying their bills. But the growing prevalence of mobiles in everyday life puts users at risk of mobile related fraud. It is essential for mobile users to understand the different kinds of fraud they are open to if they are to protect themselves against it.

In response to this challenge, the Fraud Women’s Network in association with Mishcon de Reya recently hosted an event, Dial F for Fraud: Mobile Technology, Safety and Security. This event was set up to offer guidance to the attendees on how to protect themselves from mobile related fraud, including ID theft from mobile phone contracts, handset theft, premium rate scams and spam texts, including an SMS hoax in India that caused tens of thousands of migrants from India’s northeast region to flee urban areas as a rumor ricocheted through text messages and social media that an attack on them was imminent.

There were two speakers at the event offering their differing perspectives on mobile related fraud: Pat Turner, Fraud Prevention Manager at Mobile – Virgin Media, and David Clark, Detective Chief Superintendent, Head of the Economic Crime at City of London Police. Pat Turner advised how people can mitigate the risks of ID Theft, Roaming Fraud and Malware in relation to our mobile phones. David Clark covered fraud on mobile phones from a policing perspective, including trends in crime and how to avoid becoming a victim, as well as how mobile phones can be used to detect crime.

The key advice was as follows:

  • Install virus protection on mobile phones, to protect the information on your device. Anti-virus software is typically only installed on laptops and computers, but phones contain as much information (if not more personal information) and are as susceptible to hackers.
  • Do not reply to any texts if you are unsure of the source; even following the advice contained in the message and texting ‘STOP’ in an effort to avoid receiving these messages in future can allow the fraudster to access your account.
  • Be vigilant when using your mobile phone in public. Today’s smartphone handsets are hugely valuable (and not just the device itself but the information or access to information via that device) and many opportunistic thefts occur when people unintentionally advertise their phones.

The Fraud Women’s Network was set up to bring together women involved in all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime head on.  Kathryn Garbett and Hannah Blom-Cooper (Fraud Defence Group at Mishcon de Reya) are both serving members of the steering committee of the Fraud Women’s Network. Membership of the Fraud Women’s Network is open to any woman working in the anti-fraud arena with an interest in networking and sharing best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime.

For more information click here.