Although it doesn’t seem like something severe, over-the-phone scams are a felony and you should alert the police if you feel you’re in danger. You never know who you’re dealing with and how threatening these events can become.
Read the following and try to remember them, so you can act right once you suspect you’re on the phone with a scammer:
- When you realize you’re dealing with a phone scam, avoid any kind of engagement. Simply hang up the phone or end the conversation, if you’re on a mobile phone;
- Do you notice an unknown number calling you? Or do you suspect it may be a phone scam? Then don’t answer the phone call. No one can make you answer calls from suspicious or unknown phone numbers;
- Sensitive information should never be disclosed over the phone unless you’re 100% sure you’re talking to a person you can trust. Entities like the bank or doctor’s office will not request this type of information during phone conversations;
- If you receive a text message on the phone or a pop-up appears on the computer or laptop, requesting your financial information, do not respond. These are scams, no matter how real they appear;
- Never send money to people you don’t know or if there’s no possibility to check their identity. Scammers can sound like very desperate people in need, but they will simply leave with your money if they’ll get the chance;
- You should have strong passwords on your mobile device and the accounts you use (social media, and others). Strong passwords mean avoiding using simple passwords anyone can guess. Adding numbers, symbols and capital letters help strengthen your passwords;
- Adding your phone numbers (mobile and landline phone numbers you use) to the National Do Not Call Registry helps minimize the risk of being called by scammers. The Registry not only provides assistance to consumers but also keeps your numbers away from the reach of telemarketing companies;
- It is worth knowing that business numbers cannot be added to the National Do Not Call Registry and, therefore, are not covered by it. If you use such numbers, it is worth employing other safety measures to stir away from phone scams;
- Hang up immediately or end the call if the person on the other end of the phone claims to be someone from the IRS, a governmental agency, or a utility company and asks you to complete payment. These types of requests are illegal and illicit;
- Remember that scammers can manipulate the caller ID showing on your phone’s display. They can use a called ID you know, to make the call more credible. Thus, even if the caller seems familiar, do pay attention to details while the person is talking. Most likely you’ll get clues that will make the conversation suspicious;
- When winning a prize, the winner is not required to pay a tax or fee, regardless of its type. It is illegal to request a tax for a prize, so never fall into such traps;
- In case you receive a message on the phone, which contains a phone number, and the request to call that number, don’t do so without checking the number first. Phone number verifications should be conducted by using credible sources;
- Check to see what options you have to install phone call blockers on your mobile phone. These blockers will notify you in case a call appears to be a scam;
Phone scams are unpleasant and can be quite frightening. Unfortunately, a lot of people lost their money and personal information this way, so it is worth doing everything you can to protect yourself and your loved ones. Write down the safety measures presented earlier and make use of them if you sense that you’re dealing with a scammer over the phone.