Common Phone Scams, What You Need to Know
New phone scams and phishing attempts are becoming increasingly more common and more sophisticated, but still share the same end goal of trying to scam consumers out of their hard earned money. With these scams on the rise and the people behind them becoming more advanced and using more advanced technologies, it is important that consumers stay educated and alert when it comes to giving out any personal information. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common phone scams and what you need to know to protect yourself.
One Ring Scam
Have you recently been on the receiving end of a phone call, you don’t recognize the number and after one ring the call ends? This is what is known as the One Ring Scam. The scammer is hoping that you call the number back. The number goes to an international toll number and will appear as a charge on your phone bill with most of the money going back to the person that initiated the scam. Be alert and do not call this number back, instead you should report it to the FTC at www.donotcall.gov/ and to the FCC at www.fcc.gov/complaints. As an extra precaution you should always check your phone bill for any suspicious or unusual charges.
Spoofed Phone Numbers
Neighbor spoofing is being used more and more frequently. Neighbor spoofing is when you receive a phone call that was originated from a number that looks similar to your own. By mimicking the call ID as closely as possible to your phone number, the scammers are hoping more people will let their guard down and answer their phone. This type of spoofing utilizes Voice Over Internal Protocol and an auto dialer to send unsolicited calls. People tend to think it’s an important call, maybe from your doctor’s office or your child’s school. There is even a chance that you could receive one of these calls from your own phone number. Your best line of defense is not to answer the phone if you are unsure of the number. If the caller is legitimate (a doctor or school) they will leave a voice mail so that you may call them back.
Bank Fraud Scams
Bank fraud scams are just another type of phone scam targeting consumers. Scammers will pretend to be your financial institution trying to alert you of potential fraud on your account. On the call the scammers will request account numbers, passwords and other sensitive information, under the guise of trying to protect you. If you find yourself on the receiving end of one of these calls the best line of defense is to hang up and call back your bank or credit union, that way you can verify that the request was authorized by your financial institution.
Be wary of this scam as the IRS noted that summertime tends to be a favored time period for these types of calls. Tax payers have recently filed their returns and may be awaiting a response from the IRS. These calls start with the scammer claiming to be the IRS and threatens people over supposed debts. Callers typically will threaten things such as arrest, deportation and license revocation if the recipient doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill. The IRS will never demand immediate payment using a specified payment method like prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers. Typically the IRS will mail a taxpayer that owes taxes rather than trying to reach them on the phone.
Overall if you find yourself on the receiving end of a phone scam and someone asks you for personal information, account information or your password you should hang up immediately and report the call. Additionally, if someone calls and is seeking a specific payment type such as wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card they are most likely not a real agency. When it comes to guarding your personal information and protecting yourself against phone scams, it is important to keep informed and exercise caution.