Every year millions of people fall victim to phone scams. In a recent study on 2015, approximately 11% of the adult population in the United States (27 million) fell victim to a phone scam. The total losses amounted to roughly $7.4 billion. Each year the number of victims continue to increase. Whether it’s the IRS calling about money owed or a relative has been kidnapped and the caller is requesting ransom, there are a few things to remember when it comes to these unsolicited calls.
Don’t Give Out Personal Information
Don’t give out your credit card, bank account information, social security number, password, or any other sensitive information over the phone. The company or organization calling you should already have this information on file if you do business with them.
Check the Number
Luckily most phones these days are equipped with caller ID. Always check the area code of the phone number calling you to see if it is one that you easily recognize. Of course you won’t recognize all area codes even from legitimate calls, but if you see a strange one such as 876, 473, or 809 which have all been linked to scams in the past, take caution.
Hang Up & Look Up
If you are unsure the phone call you received is legitimate or not, the best thing to do is hang up and look up the phone number for the company on their website, your bank statement, etc. You can then call this number to ensure that you are speaking with an authorized representative of the company.
The one-ring scam is another popular modern phone scam which results in the victim having to pay high fees after being tricked into redialing a number that called them and disconnected. The scammers will program computers to place thousands of random calls and let the line ring once before disconnecting. The unsuspecting person will see the missed call and redial the number which will connect to a high priced premium line. If you see a missed call from a phone number you don’t recognize and that didn’t leave a message, don’t call it back.
There are a number of different scams to watch out for and scammers continue to think of new ways to bait victims. Always use caution when receiving a call from an unidentified number so you don’t become the latest victim of one of these phone scams.
For more information on how to protect yourself and your business contact us.