Most people have, at some point, received a phone call from a scammer. They may pretend to be representatives of the IRS or other government agencies, trying to trick you into paying them money. They may claim to be from a tech support company and try to get you to install malicious software on your computer. Or they may pose as a debt collector and demand payment for a nonexistent debt. Whatever the scam, you can take some basic steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim. It’s important to remember that scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to trick people, so even if you’ve been targeted, you may still be at risk. This article will provide six helpful tips for dealing with phone scams.
Don’t Answer Unknown Callers
Many phone scams start with a call from an unknown number. If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer. If you reply and the caller (or recording) asks, “Can you hear me?”, just hang up. This is a common scam where scammers try to get you to say “yes.” They may then use your recorded “yes” to authorize unwanted charges on your credit card. It may seem impolite, but it’s the best way to avoid scams. Though, if you are expecting a call from someone you don’t know, you can always ask, “Who is this?” before you answer. This way, you can screen your calls.
Do A Phone Number Search
The first step you should take when you receive a suspicious call is to do a reverse phone number search. This will allow you to determine if the number is associated with known scams. Using number search services will help you find the name of the person or company associated with the number and where the number is registered. It’s a good idea to keep a list of known scam numbers to help you quickly identify them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has a helpful database of scam phone numbers. Though number search alone won’t tell you if the call is a scam, it will give you a starting point for your research. This is essential before you answer any questions or give away personal information.
Hang Up On Robocalls
By law, telemarketers cannot send unsolicited commercial messages using an automatic telephone dialing system without your prior express consent. But scammers don’t care about the law. They will continue to call you using robocalls in an attempt to steal your money or personal information. The best way to deal with these calls is to hang up simply. Don’t engage with the caller, don’t press any buttons to be taken off their call list, and don’t give them any personal information. It’s also a good idea to block the number, so you don’t continue to receive calls from them.
Get A Call-Blocking App
Call blocking apps are a great way to protect yourself from unwanted or unfamiliar numbers. Just enter the number into the app, automatically blocking future calls from that number. It’s a fast and easy way to protect yourself from scammers. Many apps will also let you report the number, so other people can be warned about it. This can be a very effective way to help others avoid getting scammed. It is essential to remember that even the best call blocker apps may not be 100% effective. So, don’t let your guard down just because you have an app.
Watch Your Phone Bill
Check your phone bill regularly for any suspicious or unexpected charges. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact your service provider immediately. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your monthly usage to help spot any unusual activity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends you review your phone bill at least once a month. It can be easy to overlook small charges, so it’s worth examining your bill closely. Though, if you’re being charged for something you don’t recognize, it’s probably best to err on caution and give your service provider a call.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a company or organization, ask questions that a legitimate caller should be able to answer without hesitation. If the person on the other end of the line can’t answer simple questions, it’s probably a scam. The caller may also become defensive or evasive when questioned. It’s always best to err on the side of caution. Many scammers will claim to be from the IRS or another government agency. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and call the agency directly to determine if the call is legitimate.
Waste Their Time
This is probably the most effective thing you can do. The longer you stay on the phone, the less money they make. Be as mysterious as possible, and try to waste as much of their time as you can. It won’t stop them from calling other people, but it will make them less profitable and may deter them from contacting you again. When you do end the call, do it abruptly to waste even more of their time. Though, be warned that some scammers may become angry and abusive if you do this. However, most will simply hang up.
A Brush With The Law
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, do not give them any information. This is a scam. Government agencies will never call and ask for personal information or money. It’s best to hang up and report the call. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has more information on government imposter scams.
If you’re unsure whether the call is a scam, hang up and call the agency back using a number you know to be accurate. For example, if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, hang up and call to speak to an IRS agent.
In conclusion, phone scams are becoming more and more common, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. First, never give out personal information or money to someone you don’t know. Second, if you receive a suspicious call, hang up and report it to the proper authorities. Finally, stay informed and be aware of the latest scams to protect yourself and your loved ones.