By Tracey Hall
How many times do we hear of someone getting scammed by phone and think that it could never happen to us? The sad thing is that it does happen very frequently, especially to the elderly. Scammers try to trick you out of money but really want access to your personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages.
Look out for false promises like opportunities to buy products, investing your money, or to receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries. Some actually call with threats of jail or lawsuits if you don’t pay them.
How to Protect Yourself
According to usa.gov there are several important tips to help you avoid being a victim of a telephone scam:
Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams.
Be wary of callers claiming that you’ve won a prize or vacation package.
Hang up on suspicious phone calls.
Be cautious of caller ID. Scammers can change the phone number that shows up on your caller ID screen. This is called “spoofing.”
Research business opportunities, charities, or travel packages separately from the information the caller has provided.
Don’t give in to pressure to take immediate action.
Don’t say anything if a caller starts the call asking, “Can you hear me?” This is a common tactic for scammers to record you saying “yes.” Scammers record your “yes” response to use as proof that you agreed to a purchase or credit card charge.
Don’t ever provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to a caller.
Don’t ever send money if the caller tells you to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.
Report Telephone Scams
Last but not least, report these scammers to federal agencies! This helps them collect evidence for lawsuits against people committing these scams. However, federal agencies don’t investigate individual cases of telephone scams.
Report telephone scams to the Federal Trade Commission, either online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357. This is the primary government agency that collect scam complaints.
Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry.
Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission either online or by phone at 1-888-225-5322.
Also report the scam to your state consumer protection office. Some consumer protection offices help residents resolve consumer problems. To find out more, visit:https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds#item-211606