As technology continues to evolve, it also opens the way for a larger number of phone scams. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 1.25 million fraud complaints in 2020, which means that phone scams are a huge problem and many people fall victim to fraud every year. Once scammers get you on the line, they will use various fake promises, aggressive sales pitches, and threats just to get your personal information they can use to steal your identity and money. These phone scams can cost you from a few dollars to your entire life savings.
According to araara.co fraudsters nowadays have perfected their strategies and spoof their phone numbers to make calls look legitimate or local on your caller ID. They do this because they know that this will significantly increase the chances that the victim will answer. Scam artists are very creative and are constantly thinking of new ways to cheat people and take their money. They use so many scenarios, however these are the 6 most common phone scams to watch out for.
Prize and lottery scams
This is one of the most common phone scams that many people fall victim to. If you get a phone call and the person on the other end is telling you that you have been randomly selected to win a fantastic prize in a lottery, don’t believe it and immediately hang up the phone. The scammers will say that you’ve won a prize such as a large sum of cash or a free vacation to the Bahamas, but then they will say that you will have to pay a small fee in order to collect your prize. This is a major red flag. First of all, if you’ve won something you don’t have to pay for it. Plus, you can’t even win a lottery or a competition, if you did not enter it in the first place.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the most common phone scams out there. Some people like to pretend to be fake charities, especially right after a natural disaster or any other tragedy. Don’t feel pressured to make a donation immediately – always do your own research about this particular charity before you give money. Scammers are really shameless and will take advantage of anyone who wants to donate to good causes. So, before you donate, do some digging and make sure that you know exactly where your money is going.
One ring scams
This scam begins with one call from an unknown number. You don’t recognize the number and your phone only rings once, while the scammers on the other end of the line hope that you will call back when you see a missed call. And once you call them back your call will be routed to an extremely expensive premium rate phone number. You’ll be forced to stay on the line as long as possible, and the longer you hold on the line, the more money they will make from you. This tactic is called the Wangiri Scam and originates in Japan. So, be careful and if you get a missed call from an unknown number, don’t call back.
Bank phone scams are also incredibly common. Sometimes, the scammers will pretend to be the good guys, so they will call you claiming to be from your bank. They will tell you that there’s a problem with your credit card or bank account. They will sound professional and try to convince you that your money is at risk and ‘kindly’ ask you for your bank account number, your card details such as your PIN number, and other sensitive data. The scammers may also advise transferring the money to a safer account – which is something your bank would never ask you to do. If you’re suspecting that you’ve fallen a victim to this type of scam, don’t provide this information to the person on the phone and then contact your bank to confirm if the call was legitimate.
Debt collector scams
This type of phone scam involves a scammer pretending to represent a debt collection agency that’s offering a huge discount on a debt you already paid or a debt you don’t recognize. This is often accompanied by a threat to call law enforcement if you deny to pay. However, always refuse to pay a debt without a legally required “validation notice”, don’t give any of your personal information and ask for their name, address, and phone number. Then, hang up and check with your creditor about the phone call to confirm whether the call was real.
The IRS scam is very popular, especially during tax season. Scammers pretend to be federal agents and once you answer the call, they will tell you that the IRS is suing you because you owe them money, and they will probably threaten to call the police if they don’t get paid as soon as possible. The two most important things to remember if you get a scam call like this are: that the IRS will never call you before first sending a notice and the second thing to keep in mind is that they never make threatening phone calls. They always make their first contact via the mail, so they will never demand payment over the telephone.