Scammers are skilled at developing new schemes based on current events and technologies. Currently, the most common phone scams are related to the pandemic.
Although the scenarios used in phone scams change, you can still protect yourself by recognizing their typical signs, which stay the same.
Scammers often claim to represent the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Medicare, or another well-known organization when they contact people. They might introduce themselves as representatives of a major charity, such as Apple, Microsoft, or a utility company. The number you see on your caller ID when they call might not be real. As such, you should check any number that shows up using reverse phone lookup with CheckPeople.com.
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Protect Yourself From Common Scams
Another common behavior of scammers is pushing you to act now. They won’t give you time to think. When they call, they’ll plead with you not to hang up. Alternatively, they might start threatening you – that they will sue you, arrest you, deport you, etc., unless you give in to their demands.
One example of such a scam is the accidental money transfer scam. Tools such as Wise, Zelle, and PayPal are becoming increasingly popular, giving rise to a common scam where someone sends you money online, and then calls or texts you asking for the money back. However, they likely made this transfer with a stolen card, so this amount will be debited from your account eventually. If you send them the money back before the processor debits it, you will lose it.
To protect yourself, don’t give in to the impulse to press “accept” on the pending transfer. You can block or disable transfer requests if you use a payment processor. Moreover, you should only accept transfers from people you know and trust. When you receive notice of an unexpected deposit, you can report it to support and let them deal with it.
Another common scam involves scammers calling or sending a message claiming there has been a major problem with one of their accounts. If it’s a message, the victim is asked to click on a link and give personal details. However, you should never click on links in texts. Instead, you will need to confirm there has been a problem by calling your credit card company or bank.
Social Security Scam
As part of this scam, you may get a call saying a criminal used your Social Security number. If you don’t send the money, you’ll be arrested. Unless you’re sure of the identity of the caller, you should avoid picking up the phone. If it’s important, they will leave a message.
Other Signs of a Scam
Scammers can also insist you make payment in a specific way, such as using a gift card or via a money transfer company. The best way to protect yourself against phone scams is by taking measures to block unwanted calls and text messages. Even if you get a message from a company you believe to be authentic, you should still avoid clicking on any links. Instead, you should get in touch with the company via a trustworthy website. Moreover, you should not call any numbers you see on your caller ID, as well as the numbers they gave you. Instead, you should look up the company’s official number and contact them using it.
Furthermore, you should never give out your financial or personal information. This is because no legitimate organization will text or call people to ask for it. Such information includes credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers. Finally, no legitimate company would pressure you to act immediately.
When in doubt, talk to someone you trust. It can be a relative, a friend, or a neighbor. Talking to someone about what happened may help you realize it’s a scam. If you believe that someone tried to scam you, you should report it to the FTC.