While smartphones are undeniably convenient and have changed nearly every aspect of how people live their lives, they have also opened up new opportunities for scammers to cheat unsuspecting people out of money or personal information. Some of these scams can be very professional and challenging to spot. Use these tips to avoid getting caught in fraud.

Only use authorized apps

Copycat apps that mimic major brands or new apps that appear sketchy may be vehicles to install malware. Avoid downloading any apps that do not come from an official source such as one of the major app stores. Users are encouraged to do some digging on any app and its developer to determine if it appears legitimate before they download it onto their devices. The major, popular apps will have their real developer correctly listed as well as thousands of reviews.

Avoid answering unknown numbers

An effective method for avoiding scams is to simply not answer phone calls from unknown numbers. In some cases, this measure will be impossible to do. There are many legitimate reasons why an unknown number may be an important call that needs to be answered. However, be wary of these calls, especially when, upon answering, there is just silence. It is believed these calls are searching for live numbers where someone might answer, setting the stage for more advanced scams.

Be wary of threatening calls

A scary phone scam that occasionally makes the rounds involves someone who claims they are a member of law enforcement informing the recipient that they have missed jury duty, owe taxes, or are otherwise in trouble with the law. The perpetrators of this scam can sound quite professional and intimidating. There have even been reports of them altering caller ID to make it look as though they are calling from a legitimate law enforcement number, giving the name of an actual police officer in that district or calling the victim’s work number. When in doubt, hang up (no matter what the caller says) and call the authority they are claiming to be from to confirm.

As smartphone use becomes even more prevalent new scams will be concocted to take advantage of users. Report any instances of scams to the relevant authorities. By taking the right steps, mobile users can protect themselves from getting caught up in a scam and losing money or personal information.