How to Identify a Phone Scam
Do you know what is the most dangerous type of phone scam? When the caller pretends to be someone you know or a representative of a governmental institution, this is the most dangerous scenario. People tend to believe what they are told in these cases, ending up being the victims of scammers. Unfortunately, this often means losing large amounts of money, besides being exposed to stressful situations.
It is illegal for people to impersonate someone else this way, but statistics show that this kind of fraud is on the increase. Most probably this is happening because people don’t know how to protect themselves against scammers. Thus, it is worth taking into account the information presented below and staying safe against phone scams
Phone scams invoking the IRS
This type of scam is quite frequent once the tax seasons debuts. The scammer pretends to be someone from the IRS, threatening people with arrest, legal actions, or if it is an immigrant, deportation. The purpose is to convince the person to pay a rather consistent fine.
How do they manage to get your money? Under their threats, they will request a personal information verification, which implies your social security number and birth date. When you’re being asked such information over the phone, do know it is a red flag for phone scams. You should never provide sensitive information on the phone, no matter who is calling. Keep this in mind to avoid being a victim.
The scam with Microsoft “experts”
People are receiving phone calls from so-called experts from a tech company (it can be Microsoft or any other known company). The purpose of the call is to let people know there’s something wrong with their computers, like a virus or malware. To get people hooked, the “expert” will request them to check their browser on the computer, which, of course, will display some errors. The errors are minor and the entire scenario is fake.
The purpose is to make people hand over details that will allow them to take over their computers. Once this happens, the scammer will use malware, installed on the computer, to steal personal information. Again, do not provide such information to anyone.
It is possible to check your computer for errors with a real expert if you have doubts or suspicions there’s something wrong. You don’t have to do this over the phone.
The scam invoking jury dutySome scammers call people to threaten them with police arrest, claiming this will happen because they didn’t do their jury duty. To make things look real, scammers claim to be deputy marshals. Of course, you will be offered an escape route, by providing sensitive information. Again, the scammer will be interested in your social security number, credit card number, or both. It is also possible to receive the request to buy a prepaid card and share with the scammer the account number.
These things are not possible in real life because you will be officially announced if you were selected for jury duty. These notifications arrive via postal services, so you’ll have written proof of official service. So, pay attention to this type of scam.
The scam with the governmental grant
This is a rather “successful” scam since many people fall for it. The scam involves being called by a government representative, who offers you a grant, for various reasons. The grant is pictured as being consistent and, of course, free. You just need to pay a so-called processing fee, which can range anywhere between $150 and $700, as a condition to receive the “free” grant.
Or you can be asked for your bank account details, to receive the grant in your account directly. Of course, the outcome of this scenario is that the victims have their accounts cleared, as the scammer will take all the money. As well, it is worth knowing that there is no such thing as a Federal Grant Administration. Scammers use this title to sound real, but an administration like this does not exist.