These days, our phones are a lot more handy compared to other devices, and because of this, we tend to keep important information on them for easy retrieval.
There are individuals and groups out there that are interested in your money and other sensitive information that you may have, so they employ various scams to try to get it from you.
One of the most common and effective types is phone scams, and this article will explore just that. So, if you don’t want to fall prey to this, make sure to check it out.
Charity scams are the most common and effective type of phone scams. You get a call from someone who is asking you for money, and the person claims to be part of a charity that requires the funds.
The caller gives you great detail about their fantasy fund and then proceeds to offer you a generous gift if only you would make a kind donation. The gift could be a lottery ticket or a fake certificate, and all you have to do is give them some details, like your credit card details.
Scam researchers at CellTrackingApps say that this scam method appeals to your emotional side so that they can take advantage of it to rip you off. You can avoid being a victim by taking some precautions. One of them is to avoid making donations over the phone. It is unlikely that any charity will run their fundraiser on the phone only, so get more tangible information first, not just hearsay.
2. Customer Support
This is another kind of imposter scam, where the criminal pretends to be a Customer service agent.
You can wake up to a call one day from someone who claims to be from a company you have interacted with in the past. The person on the call may just be pretending to be a part of that company.
Many people have computers at home, and because of this, many of the customer support scams come from callers who claim to be from either Microsoft or Apple.
The criminal is going to mention that your computer has a problem that would need to be fixed urgently. The problem is usually made up by the caller and does not exist, but it is all so they can fetch your payment information to “fix” it.
Microsoft claims that its agent will never call you uninitiated. This means you can ignore unsolicited customer support that asks for your payment information.
3. Law and order
Another common scam is the one that preys on some people’s desire to get out of trouble. Whether the trouble is real or not is another thing.
Here, the caller cooks up a story about there being an outstanding warrant for your arrest and you would need to pay a fine urgently to avoid a jail term.
The caller would in the process try to get your credit card details by telling you that you can pay over the phone. They will also collect a few more personal details for your “identity verification”. The caller would try to collect sufficient information to commit identity fraud with your details.
When you receive this type of call, get their name and number so that you can “call them back”. After hanging up, call the Police instead and report them.
4. Health Insurance
A caller may tell you that they work as a Medicare representative, and then tell you to sign up for a new card or new policy.
When you receive the call, the caller might start a friendly conversation with you so that you can get comfortable and lower your guard. There are common scripts you might hear, according to the Federal Communications Commission:
You were sent the old paper version and there’s a new plastic version.
We’re going to need you to confirm the numbers on your new Medicare card to activate it.
Your Medicare card has an error and we will need to replace it.
The FCC already claims that you will always get a letter in your mail from the government agency before any phone call. This means you can ignore any claim that doesn’t fulfill this order. Or, if you’re not certain, you can use totally free phone number lookup services to check if the call is really from a healthcare provider.
5. Gift Cards
How this scam often works is that the scam caller will ask you to pay for a product or service using a gift card.
The scammer may even tell you to pick up gift cards from several stores. The caller can even be on the phone with you while you visit those stores and load the acquired gift cards with money.
You can contact the card issuer to report gift card scams. Visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov to also report gift card scams.
How to Protect Yourself
If you receive a call from an unknown number, don’t answer it. The best way to avoid being scammed is to not pick up the phone in the first place.
Use free phone number lookup with name no-charge apps to discover who’s behind unknown numbers.
Don’t give out personal information over the phone, such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or any other sensitive data.
Don’t respond to any requests for payment over the phone, regardless of what the caller is asking for. This includes not giving out any credit card or banking information.
Don’t trust callers who claim to be from government agencies, or who try to scare you into taking action. Government agencies will usually never contact you by phone, and any threats should be taken as red flags for potentially fraudulent calls.
Looking through a recent report about scam calls that happened, we discovered that Americans lost a lot more than $615 million to scam calls. This is 40% more than it was from the previous year before the research was carried out.
You have to be cautious whenever you’re answering the phone. If you find something that seems too good to be true over the phone, it most likely is. This is why when you’re doubtful about something, you don’t share personal and sensitive information or even money.