Common Phone Scams
Scams occurring over the phone are increasingly frequent. Scammers take advantage of the fact that people can’t see them or reach them. Plus, they can be very convincing over the phone, where they can pretend to be anyone they want. And they may try to reach you via mobile phone, landline phones, or VoIP. Thus, not only mobile phone users are exposed to the risks of being scammed.
It is worth knowing there are some details that will red flag a phone scam. This is why it is worth knowing the most common types of phone scams. Of course, scammers can be quite creative, so do expect anything. The main idea is that there will always be something wrong with these phone calls, something that doesn’t fit in the context. So, pay attention to details.
Threatening calls made by the IRS
Receiving a phone call from the IRS is an idea that scares most people. However, bear in mind that the IRS will first contact you in a written form, before reaching you on the phone. So, if they really want to talk to you, a written notification (usually via email). Also, no matter what the situation is, the IRS will never require payments from you over the phone. And will never require payments made by using a gift card. When this happens, you’re clearly dealing with a scammer and should hang up.
Phone calls from fake charities
Scammers will often try to touch the emotional side of their victims, by presenting them with a sad scenario. So, it’s not uncommon for scammers to present themselves, over the phone, as being the representatives of charity organizations. They will say there’s a fundraising action for people that went through natural disasters or tragedies.
It is okay if you want to make donations to charities, but don’t do this over the phone. Donations can be made online as well, by accessing the official website of a charity. That being said, don’t agree to provide sensitive information over the phone or initiate any kind of money transfers this way. Hang up and do some research. You will rapidly find if the charity is a real or fake one.
Calls about family members in danger
Again, we go back to the stirring of strong emotions in people, a method often employed by scammers. Unfortunately, this type of scam is usually used on senior citizens, which are more sensitive and vulnerable. Let us not forget that many seniors have hearing problems as well. So, besides being troubled by the “urgency” of the call, they will make false assumptions due to hearing troubles. This is why an old person can easily assume a grandchild or anyone else in the family is calling.
When it happens, it is important to do one thing after hanging up. Dial the number of the person calling you by accessing the agenda on your phone. It takes just a few minutes and gives you peace of mind whether it is a real scenario or you were on the verge of being scammed. If the person is not responding, call someone else who may be knowing where they are. If there’s indeed a dangerous situation, you can always call the emergency number or police.
Scams depicting lottery wins
Who doesn’t want to win the lottery? This is exactly what motivates scammers to call people and try getting sensitive information and money from them. However, in the case of a scam, you will have to pay some sort of taxes or fees to get your prize. This is a more than obvious red flag since you shouldn’t pay anything for your win. So, try not to fall into this trap, no matter how appealing the “prize” maybe. It is a very common type of phone scam.
Scammers can be quite creative and will try to convince you by either using emotional scenarios, a tragic script or a potential “win”. But, if you pay attention to red flags, you will notice something awkward during the conversation. At the same time, remember that you don’t need to do any actions over the phone, especially not to provide sensitive information. If you keep these in mind, you’ll protect yourself against scammers.