Top 7 Phone Scams and How To Avoid Them
Even though phone scams have been around for decades, it seems that they aren’t stopping anytime soon. Many people have learned to avoid them, but scammers are slowly adapting and becoming more creative. The following few paragraphs will introduce you to some of the most popular scams today, as well as different ways to avoid them.
1. Family Member Imitation
The people behind these scams usually represent themselves as one of your family members or a close relative that’s going through some trouble. Usually, they won’t ask for large sums since that’ll be immediately suspicious. Still, if you receive this type of call, it’s best to hang up and call the person back to see if it was indeed them on the other end of the phone.
2. COVID-19 Scams
With the global pandemic still not showing signs of slowing down, scammers have started taking advantage of it. Many people have reported that they received specific calls asking for their personal information for them to be able to get vaccinated. However, this puts you at a threat of becoming a victim of identity theft. Avoid giving out info and check what the process is with your local government.
3. Tech Scams
More often than not, tech support scammers claim to be from a well-known company that everyone recognizes, such as Microsoft. They’ll tell the person that their PC is vulnerable or infected with viruses and that they can fix it by downloading a particular piece of software. From there, they’ll likely use it as a keylogger, spyware, ransomware, etc. Tech scammers usually target the elderly population.
4. One-Ring Calls
Arguably the most damaging scams, one-ring callers call your number for a split second in the hopes of you ringing them back. When you do that, only the connection fees can cost you up to $100 since you’re routed to international or premium-rate numbers. The longer you stay on the line, the more money you lose, and the scammer’s goal is to make you listen to his pre-recorded messages. To avoid these scams, always make sure to check the area codes of the callers.
5. Lottery Scams
These have been around for quite a long time. You’ll get a call from a person congratulating you on winning ridiculous sums of money on some lottery. However, there’s a catch – you have to pay a small fraction before you’re eligible to receive anything. This should always trigger a red flag: if you’ve genuinely won something, why would you have to pay for it? And remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
6. The Double-Dipping Scam
Even though these variants are becoming increasingly rare, it’s good to be aware of them. Double scams focus on people who have previously lost some amount of money on a fraud. They come forward with the claim that a certain sum was successfully recovered and that they only need your bank account number to forward you the money. Of course, if you decide to do so, they’ll take even more from you. Keep in mind that if you’ve fallen victim to a phone call scam, that money is likely lost forever.
7. Health Care Debt Scams
As the name suggests, these types of scammers usually pray on victims that have undergone medical attention. They’ll claim that they need your personal information to confirm that you have insurance or something similar. If this is the case, remember – there’s virtually no situation in which a health insurance representative will call you.
Ways To Avoid Falling Victim To A Phone Call Scam
Here are a few ways to consider in order to avoid falling to a phone scam:
a. Don’t Be Afraid To Hang Up
If you have even the slightest of doubts that you’re dealing with a scam, you should hang up immediately. Even if the call was legitimate, the person/company would find other more convenient means of contacting you.
b. Automatically Block Anonymous Callers
Almost every phone has an option that, when enabled, automatically rejects calls from any number that isn’t memorized in your contact list. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll need to collect all the critical numbers beforehand.
c. Use a Reverse Number Lookup Tool
If you truly wish to find out who’s on the other end of the line, Spokeo is the right tool for you. Before answering, copy the number, go to Spokeo’s website, paste it and run a phone number search. The tool could cross-reference its database in an attempt to find a match, similar to what you would manually do with a phone book.
However, Spokeo retrieves a lot more information – the person’s name, address, location, criminal records, etc. This way, you’ll know exactly who you’re dealing with.
d. Change Your Number
If everything else fails and you can’t prevent scammers from blasting your phone every day, it might be time to change your phone number. Once you do that, however, avoid giving it away to anyone except those closest to you.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.
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