Most of us have gotten a scam phone call at one time or another. Some calls are easy to identify, you entered a contest you never heard about and won a prize that’s too good to be true. Scam. Other calls may not be as easy to identify. The person on the phone is calling from a company you do business with, offering you a better rate or verifying information on your account. Anyone can be a victim of scam phone calls, they don’t just target one demographic, young or old, male or female. Scammers call anyone they can, hoping to convince as many people as they can that they are legitimate. Scammers hope to pressure you into making a rash decision so they can get information or money out of you.
Here are some things to know about handling scammers, and why hanging up on them is the best thing you can do.
If you feel pressured or the call seems strange, hang-up. One of the trickiest ways that scammers can confuse you is by calling you from a number that you are familiar with. It can be nearly impossible to tell if caller id information is real or simulated. We recently had an insured from our Jensen Sheehan office tell us they received a call from what looked like our office number but was a chimney cleaning company. If you get a call from a familiar number but it seems fishy, hang-up and call the company phone number back directly. By calling yourself you can know that you are actually speaking with the real company and they can tell you if they were actually trying to get in touch with you.
The Government will never call you over the phone and demand a payment from you. This seems to be one of the most popular scams. When you owe money to someone like the IRS they will send you correspondence through the mail, they don’t call you and angrily demand money over the phone. If you get a call like this hang up. For more information about IRS scamming or how to report it visit http://www.businessinsider.com/irs-phone-scam-what-to-do-if-you-get-scam-call-2018-2
Don’t give out- or confirm- your personal or financial information over the phone. If someone calls you from your bank or Credit Card Company asking you to confirm accounts this should be a big red flag.
Don’t wire money or send money using reloadable cards. There have been reports of scammers impersonating kidnappers and claiming that they have the victim’s son or daughter and demand money for their return. In some cases you might even hear sounds of distress from a child in the background. If you get a call like this resist the urge to send money, no matter how dramatic the story. In this age of social media it is not hard for scammers to get your personal information, like the names of your children, their friend’s names and even places that they like to hangout. The scammers are good at pressuring you to send money without giving you time to think or confirm that your children are safe. Contact your child or school directly and confirm that they are ok, then report the fraudulent call to ftc.gov/complaint