Phone scams are a frequent method for scammers to steal money from their victims. Beware of these phone scams and learn what you can do to stay safe.
Cold calls are when companies try to sell you something, even if they haven't done business with you previously. These calls can be either legal or illegal, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a fraud and a cold calling.
It is useful to be aware of some of the most common scams so you can defend yourself.
1. Bank Phone Scams
This is one of the most common phone scams. Someone pretending to be from your bank may call to inform you that there is an issue with your card or account. The caller will frequently sound professional and will try to persuade you that your card has been cloned or that your money is in jeopardy.
They may request your account and card information, including your PIN number, and even offer to send a courier to take your card. They may also encourage you to put your money in a "safe account" to protect it. This is a typical fraud, and your bank would never ask you to do it.
2. Compensation Fraud Calls
This is a call from a corporation inquiring about an alleged car accident in which you may be entitled to compensation. Some of them may be legitimate businesses seeking new clients, while others are crooks.
Do not participate in these calls. If you've been in an accident, call your own insurance carrier at the number listed on your policy.
3. HMRC or IRS Scam Calls
You may receive a call from someone claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you live in the United States informing you that there is a problem with your tax refund or an overdue tax debt. They may leave a message and request that you return their call.
Criminals impersonate federal agents in these phone scams. They appear to be official and may even include a badge number. If urgent payment is not made, they may threaten litigation or imply the police are on their way to make an arrest.
HMRC would never approach you in this manner and would never want personal financial information such as your bank account information.
4. Number Spoofing
Scammers can now use technology to imitate an official phone number so that it appears on your caller ID display (if you have one on your phone). This can lead you to believe the caller is from a genuine company, such as a bank or utility company.
If you have any doubts, hang up and contact the company immediately. Call them from a different phone if feasible, because scammers can keep the phone connection open, so even if you hang up and call the organisation directly, the line may still be connected to the scammer. If you can't use another phone, wait at least 10 minutes before calling.
5. Pensions and Investment Phone Scams
This is a call regarding an 'unmissable' investment opportunity, or an offer to allow you to access your pension funds sooner.
6. Technical Support Calls
In this phone scam, the caller generally claims to be from a well-known corporation, such as Microsoft or Apple, and that they have discovered a mistake on the victim's computer. They will then walk the victim through a series of steps to "resolve" the issue.
In actuality, the victim is unknowingly installing software that will either hijack their machine or grant the caller remote access. Scammers use it to steal personal information or to install ransomware, which demands payment to release a computer's files. Customers are never contacted in this manner by legitimate IT firms.
7. ‘Anti-Scam’ Scams
This is a call from someone claiming to be from a charity that assists scam victims, a firm providing anti-scam equipment. This can also be someone asking for money to renew your Telephone Preference Service membership, which is actually free. Be on the lookout for all of these things.
8. Fake Charity Scam Calls
Charity phone scams are widespread following a natural catastrophe or other calamities. The fraudsters rely on the kindness of those who wish to assist. Don't make any donations to unsolicited calls to prevent providing money to a criminal. Instead, conduct your own research to choose a trustworthy charitable organization.
9. Lottery Scams
Don't trust anyone who tells you that you've been chosen at random to win a foreign lottery. These calls are fraudulent, and the caller will tell you that you must pay taxes or other government expenses in order to receive your winnings.
10. Family Members in Peril
These con artists frequently prey on the elderly. Someone calls to inform Grandma that they are in danger. Perhaps they are in jail and require bail, or their car has broken down. She believes it is one of her grandkids and quickly provides money over the phone.
If you receive a call from a family member who claims to be in a crisis, hang up and dial that person's phone directly. If you are unable to contact them, contact another friend or family member who may be able to confirm their location.
It is important to make it clear to older family members that they should be wary of strange phone calls from family members begging for money.
11. Insurance, Health Care and Debt Scams
A variety of phone scams including scammers attempting to sell vehicle warranties, give debt consolidation loans, or check health insurance details are all quite similar. It's recommended not to buy anything over the phone unless you've initiated the call.
Also, be wary of debt consolidation offers and persons impersonating health insurance agents may be phishing for information that may be used to commit identity theft. If someone pretends to be calling regarding your health insurance, the best thing to do is hang up and call the number on your insurance card.
12. Website Password Requests
Scammers may be attempting to get access to your online accounts. They call under a variety of guises, such as giving technical help or following up on suspected fraud, and then request your password to prove your identity. You should never be requested to provide a website password over the phone. There is no valid justification for this.
13. Fake Customer Requests
Individuals aren't the only ones that get fraudulent phone calls. This may be an issue for small enterprises as well. Scammers will call pretending to be consumers. They usually have some kind of emergency that needs to be dealt with right away. The basic issue is that they require money to be transferred someplace.
Employees must be taught to validate a person's identification in these scenarios. Ideally, this will entail communicating with consumers across two channels, such as phone and email, to confirm that they did really call the office.
Phone scams are always evolving, but they all have one thing in common. Almost all of the scenarios have a feeling of urgency. Scammers are certain that whatever they are contacting must be answered soon or the chance will be missed. If somebody is pressuring you to make a rapid payment or decision over the phone, take a step back and reconsider what they are saying.
While some individuals enjoy wasting a scammer's time by dragging out the chat, this may not be a good idea. Voice-recording software is used in several frauds. The more you chat, the more probable it is that you will say anything that the criminals will exploit to conduct unlawful transactions in your name. It's important to end the call right away.
A call blocker device is strongly recommended to block spam calls. Our call blockers are meant to keep you and your family safe from unwanted phone calls and to let you have a peace of mind at home. Browse our products, or get in touch with us so we can help you.