We’ve all gotten the occasional strange phone call that almost seems like it could be for real. However, more often than not, it’s a scam! Watch out for these 10 signs of a phony call, and protect yourself from being duped or swindled.
You’ve won a prize! It’s very unlikely that you’ve won any contests, unless you actually entered one recently. However, there’s one sign that a supposed “prize” is definitely a scam: the caller asks you to provide your credit card information so that you can cover “processing” or “shipping and handling” fees. Hang up right away and block that caller— what they’re after is a fabulous handout, not sending you a fabulous reward. Want a foreign lottery ticket? It’s illegal for United States citizens to buy foreign lottery tickets, but even if they could, you wouldn’t get the money anyway. Don’t send money to someone in a foreign country and expect them to actually send you a lottery ticket.
You need to “save” your money. Uh oh. The caller says your bank has been hacked, or has been investigated for fraud. You’ll need to move your money somewhere safe. Sure, the scam caller’s pockets might be “safe”, but you’ll never get that money back. Remember, if there is ever any security breach in your bank, your bank will let you know, and you won’t need to move funds. Instead, you’ll be issued a new credit or debit card.
Your computer has an issue. Bottom line is— no it doesn’t. Microsoft or Apple will never call you to tell you there’s something wrong with your computer. Scammers use scare tactics to get computer owners to share their screens to let them “fix” the “problem”. Once they have access to your screen, they’ll have access to your personal information. Hang up right away and block the caller.
An extended warranty for your car. The caller says that the warranty on your vehicle is about to expire, but that they can sell you an extended one, as long as you pay right away. Even if they claim to be from your car company, these calls are more often fake than not. Hang up and call your car dealership, and block the caller.
The caller doesn’t identify himself. Scam callers will almost always try to deflect your questions and keep their identities hidden. They’ll focus the call on asking YOU questions or threatening you, ultimately trying to get you to leave all reason behind and make a payment out of fear.
The caller is very insistent. Even if the caller says they are from a charity, don’t believe him if he becomes very insistent that you make a payment over the phone. Plenty of organizations solicit donations over the phone, but they do so in a polite manner. They do not ask you to fork over personal information.
The caller requires dubious payment methods. No legitimate company or institution, especially the IRS, is going to ask you to make payments using gift cards or Western Union. Hang up! It’s a scam.
No one answers. It’s either a prank call, or a scammer waiting for you to say something into the phone so he can know that your phone number connects to a living, breathing person. Some scammers then sell “working” phone numbers to questionable companies.
The phone rings only once. You didn’t have a chance to answer, and you might wonder whether you should call back. Don’t do it! These “one and done” scams work on the premise that your curiosity will get the best of you, and you’ll call the number back. When you do, you’ll be transferred to an automated pay-per-minute system that will keep you on line for as long as possible, in order to rack up phony charges.
Protect yourself from phony calls! Get Call Control call blocker for mobile phones and landlines today.
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