How to Identify and Avoid a Phone Scam
The digital era has brought many benefits and change lives positively. However, phones have also become the primary weapon used by scammers to steal from unsuspecting phone users. The FTC or Federal Trade Commission says it received up to 1.25 million complaints in 2020 from people scammed via phone. The scammers give you irresistible promises, convincing sales pitches, and sometimes use phony threats to get the information they can use to steal your identity or money.
How to Identify a Phone Scam
Phone scams are getting complicated every day. However, they all tend to have similar trends that you recognize and avoid getting scammed. Here is how to know you are about to be scammed:
* Unknown Prize
The caller says you were chosen for their offer or the lucky winner of a lottery that you didn't participate in. however, they ask you to make a certain payment to get your prize.
* Unsolicited favors
Some scammers call pretending to be law enforcers or federal agency representatives. They threaten you with arrests or fines and sometimes deportations where foreigners are their targets if you do not pay a certain debt or taxes instantly. They intend to scare you and pay, which is not what law enforcers and federal agencies do.
*One ring calls
If your phone rings once and the call is disconnected, the caller's objective may be to lure you to call them back. The numbers are usually high toll, and you pay premium rates to call them.
They call and guarantee you a government grant for home repairs and college fees. They will ask you for bank account details claiming they want to deposit the money for you. But, they ask for some processing fees.
Ticket scammers take advantage of umping events to steal from people via phone. They sell fake tickets, and others do not deliver anything. The tickets are irresistible because they for popular sporting events, concerts, and plays and come at a lower price.
How to avoid a phone scam
*Ask for time to make the decision.
Scammers will pressure into making an instant decision. This is different from genuine businesses. People who are legitimate businesses allow their potential customers to take time before making a decision and even send you a hard copy of the information before you can commit yourself.
*Never pay to get a gift or prize.
Scammers will not give you anything for free, and they ask you to send the money in methods where recovering it is hard. They will ask you to wire, put it in a prepaid card, gift card, or one of the many money transfer apps. If the caller suggests you pay using one of these methods, run.
*Do Not Share Sensitive Information
Never share your sensitive information, such as your Social Security number. There is no reason to share such details with someone you do not know, even if they tell you they are the IRS or Social Security Administration. Note that legitimate organizations do not use text or call to ask where you work, your bank account, or credit card details.
*Block Those Calls
If you receive a call from a suspicious number, block it. Stop talking to them even for fun and filter unwanted direct messages on your phone. If you are using a mobile phone, download a call blocking application and stay safe.
*Not all caller IDS are correct.
Scammers can alter how their names appear in your caller ID. The process is known as spoofing. It may seem like the call is from your bank or a government agency but could be from a scammer. Listen to their message, but do not part with money or private personal information.
*Do Not Reply To Messages Asking For Personal Information Or Money
Whether you receive a text, advertisement, or email, you ignore and delete them. If you replay, the crooks may use confusing tricks to steal from you.
Scammers are always looking for opportunities to trap people. You should be careful and avoid being quick to share your details. They come with exciting offers and promises to make you give them money, hoping to get something better. Follow the right steps to get things or solve problems, and you will not be scammed.