Guide to Phone Call and Telemarketer Scams
People have probably warned you about all kinds of scams, as well as how they can affect people. Millions of dollars are lost to scammers every year, and even the most tech-savvy people can easily be taken in.
While online scams have grown immensely in recent years, scams by phone still remain common. Read on for more information on how to avoid phone scams.
Impersonating a Debt Collector
One of the most common scams involves impersonating someone who has the authority to collect on a debt. These callers may say that they’ve made multiple attempts to reach you, both by mail and by phone, and that you’ll go to prison if you don’t pay up immediately. They take payment from a credit card, and then they’re gone.
The best way to avoid these scams is simply to call the company in question directly. It’ll let you know if you actually have debts that you need to pay off.
In addition, it’s important to remember that government agencies will never ask you to give personally identifying information or to make a payment over the phone. If a collector from a government agency shows up at your door because of debt delinquency, he or she will have a number of forms of identification. And you will always be allowed to call the IRS to make sure it’s all legitimate.
The Grandparent Scam
Elderly people are at a very high risk for being taken in by scams, because they tend to be more trusting. This scam involves an individual calling an elderly person and claiming to be his or her grandchild. The person says that he or she has gotten into some legal trouble and needs money to make bail, and asks the person to send money to help.
These scams can be very difficult to recognize, because scammers may know your name, your grandchildren’s names, and even some information about your current family situation. To catch these scammers, you should ask for some information that only your actual grandchild would know. For example, you may ask the person to describe an experience from a family vacation or reunion, or ask the individual to verify his or her address.
“Can You Hear Me?”
When you pick up the phone, a scammer will start talking to you and then ask something along the lines of, “Can you hear me?” The person is just trying to get you to say “yes,” to record that response. Then, he or she can use your actual voice to get into accounts, authorize payments, and do much more. The scammer may also try to get you to say other things, such as “No,” “I accept,” and other phrases frequently used while making transactions.
The best thing to do in this instance is simply avoid replying. Immediately hang up; don’t even interact. If the person claims to be from an actual company that you’ve dealt with, then call that company back using a number listed on its website or other official source. Then, you can be sure you’re actually dealing with the company in question.
How Can I Avoid These Scams?
Scams intentionally make it more difficult to tell whether the person on the other end of the line is legitimate. However, you can avoid being taken in by sticking to some common sense rules: Don’t give out extremely personal identifying information, such as your social security number, over the phone. Don’t send money using wire transfers or prepaid gift cards.
Lastly, make sure the number actually belongs to the person that the caller says they are. To do this, you can check the phone number on PeopleFinders. All you have to do is enter the phone number into their reverse phone lookup. With such a tool, you should be able to find out quickly the identity of the person calling you. And if things don’t match up, it’s probably a scam. It’s quick and easy, and that’s why you should use it whenever you get a call from an unknown number.
Image attribution: tihiy_chelovek – stock.adobe.comTags: Phone Numbers, Reverse Phone Lookup, Scammers
Categorized in: Scams