Phone spam and fraud

  1. Malware infection
  2. SMS mailing lists
  3. Calls
  4. "One ring" phone scam
  5. If you have fallen victim to fraud

Phone fraud grows more common every year. Fraud methods become more complicated, while attackers become more inventive and involve larger numbers of people in their scams.

Scammers call or send SMS messages on behalf of officials, banks, and other organizations. They may offer different pretexts, for example, that your password expired, your card was blocked, you won a lot of money or received a lucrative offer, or someone you love got in an accident.

You may be asked to provide your bank card details, transfer money to a given account, click a link to restore access to your account, send an SMS, or call a number.

These calls and messages may have different goals:

  • Infect your mobile device with malware.
  • Get confidential information.
  • Sell an unnecessary service or a paid subscription.
  • Debit money for a reply SMS or call to a paid number.
  • Get your card details so scammers can steal your money.
  • Make you send money to the scammers.

To learn more about the ways to protect data on your phone, go to Smartphone protection.

Malware infection

Scammers use various methods to infect mobile devices with malware. They use various pretexts to make you to follow a link, download and open a document, or run their malicious software. Such software can take full control of your device.

  • You receive a message that looks like one from an official organization and contains a link to a document or program that you need to download. Clicking the link can install a malicious program on the device, such as ransomware or a Trojan program.
  • You receive an ad message about a new program that has interesting features. The link leads to an unfamiliar site instead of the official app store. Apps downloaded from this site may be malware with hidden functions. For example, the app may send data from your phone to third parties or let them control your phone.
  • You receive an SMS saying that you have a new message in a messenger app or a social network, and you can read it by clicking the link. After you click the link, your phone gets infected with a virus.
How to protect yourself

SMS mailing lists

SMS messages from scammers may contain:

  • Links to malware.
  • A fake message from a bank about a transfer made to your account. It's usually followed by another message asking for a refund because the transfer was made by mistake.
  • An invitation to call a number or get a subscription. Later, it turns out you have to pay for it.
  • A request for your personal data made under various pretexts.
  • A notification of winning a contest, lottery, or prize draw. To receive the award, you need to pay a tax or shipping costs.
  • You receive an SMS saying that your card was blocked from a scammer who pretends to be an employee of your bank's security service. If you call the sender's number, they ask you for your card details and the code from the SMS.
How to protect yourself
  • Install the Dr.Web Security Space antivirus with a call and SMS filter (for Android).
  • Activate the service for blocking unwanted messages from your mobile operator.


Scammers can fake phone numbers or use ones that are similar to the numbers of banks or other official organizations. They want to find out your personal data, bank card details, and codes or passwords from banking apps and make you send them money. They may address you by your name and name the bank branch where you opened your account.

Several people may be involved in such fraud schemes. For example, scammers can pretend to transfer a call to another specialist, which creates the appearance of a large organization.

You can use apps with an automatic number identifier (caller ID). The caller ID tells you who is calling if the number isn't in your phone contacts. Unknown numbers are compared with a database that's regularly updated. If the organization is in the database, you can see its name and basic info. If the organization is unknown, the app displays a probable call category, for example, “Phone fraud”.

  • Someone calls you from your bank's number or a similar number, identifies themselves as a security officer at your bank, and says that someone tried to transfer money from your card. They may ask you for your card details and the SMS code received from the bank. They may also suggest that you transfer money to a “safe” account that actually belongs to the scammers.
  • You receive a call from someone who presents themselves as an employee of the bank that issued your card. They offer to activate a free service for you (for example, an increased cashback). When they activate the service, you receive an SMS code for logging in to the bank's mobile app or confirming the operation. The scammer may remind you that you can't tell this code to anyone. They finish the conversation and have a “robot” call you so you can dictate the secret code to it.
How to protect yourself
Add the number to the blacklist

If you add a number to the blacklist, you'll no longer receive calls and SMS messages from this number.

Note. The path may differ depending on the device model.

To add a number to the blacklist:

  1. In the Phone app, go to Recent (Recent calls or Last calls).
  2. Select the call from the number that you want to block.
  3. Tap Block. If there's no such option, go to the next step.
  4. Tap next to the call.
  5. Tap  → Block.

Incoming calls from blocked numbers don't appear in the call log.

To unblock a number:

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap  → Settings  → Blocked numbers.
  3. To the right of the number, tap .
  • Call blocking service from your mobile operator.
  • Special apps.

"One ring" phone scam

Scammers call you from unknown numbers and disconnect immediately. They try to make you call back to the number, which may cost you money.

How to protect yourself
  • Call blocking service from your mobile operator.
  • Special apps.

If you have fallen victim to fraud

Attention. Don't delete SMS messages from scammers and their phone numbers: the data may serve as evidence and used for describing the fraud.
You called back a paid number or sent a paid SMS

Try to return the money through your mobile operator. To do this, send them a written complaint:

  1. Provide all the details: the date, time, and phone number that you called.
  2. Indicate that you were misled about the cost of the call or SMS.
  3. Demand a full refund.
You were made to provide your bank card details

Immediately block the card to prevent attackers from accessing your money.

The money was taken from the card without your consent

Contact law enforcement agencies and the bank that issued the card and report fraud. Describe all the circumstances in detail and attach evidence:

  • Phone number that called you or sent you SMS messages.
  • Details from the mobile operator.
  • A description of when and where it happened.

A decision on your application will be made following an investigation.