Although it may sound like a thing of the past, phone scams are still a major problem. In June 2018, 4.5 billion robocalls were made to mobile and landline phones in the United States. That’s nearly 18 robocalls for every person!
It’s not hard to understand why robocalls were the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. A grand total 7,157,370 complaints were made against robocallers and telemarketers.
Despite this, the robocall epidemic is getting worse.
Luckily, there are solutions to help you fight back against the surge of intrusive, annoying robocalls. In this post, we will cover how you can identify a scam call to protect yourself from fraud.
So, how do you know you’re receiving a spam call?
You’ll know you’re getting fake calls by the many Blocked, Private, and Restricted numbers popping up on your phone. These can be telemarketers, scammers, pranksters, or even harassers. The most common include:
IRS: Unfortunately, this is perhaps one of the most common scams which usually targets the elderly. You’ll receive a phone call from the “IRS” telling you that you’re receiving your final notice for money owed. If you do not pay this money you’re threatened with jail time. These scammers know people fear the taxman and hope that their impulse is to call the fake number back and rectify the situation.
Tech Support: This is another scam growing in strength. It targets those who are not computer savvy. You’ll get a call pretending to be Microsoft Support and they will inform you that your computer is compromised and that you need to download special software to protect yourself. The caller conveniently needs your credit card information through this scenario.
Sweepstakes: “Free” or “low cost” vacations and other sweepstakes callers claiming you’ve won can end up costing a bundle in hidden costs. Usually, they are just a prompt to receive personal information such as home address or even credit card information. Never give personal information to these callers, especially over the phone.
What are some easy ways to identify if a call is truly a scam?
It may be hard to immediately identify an unprompted caller’s intentions.
However, the FTC has found these common denominators and phrases you should look out for when identifying a scam call:
You've been specially selected (for this offer)
You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product
You've won one of five valuable prizes
This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else
You have to make up your mind right away
We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card
Don't want to receive these scam calls? Here's how can you stop them
The simplest way to minimize your exposure to scam calls is to monitor incoming calls carefully. Start by not picking up calls from unknown numbers. If the information is important or urgent, callers will probably leave a voicemail or find another way to contact you through new digital channels such as email. Follow the steps in our infographic below to identify a scam caller and prevent them from ever reaching your phone again.