Anytime you're on the phone, there's a chance that you could become a victim of a scam. Whether it's the IRS threatening to seize your property or an unknown number claiming they'll help you win millions in the lottery, these scams are becoming increasingly common.
And even if you know what to look for, it's still easy to fall prey to someone trying to take advantage of your trust by using false claims about their identity or intentions. So how do you avoid becoming scammed?
Know What to Expect With Phone Scams
To help you identify and avoid common phone scams, it's essential to know what to expect from a scammer. Here are some of the most common tactics:
If someone claims they're calling from a government agency and tells you that your taxes are late, hang up immediately. The IRS will never call anyone about anything related to their taxes or filing deadlines—and if they do call, this is an immediate red flag that the person on the other end is trying to scam you out of money!
The IRS will never call you and threaten to arrest you if you don't pay up. If someone calls claiming to be from the government, hang up immediately. The same goes for anyone who claims you owe back taxes or threatens to send the police if they don't receive a payment within a few days (this is illegal).
If someone calls claiming to be from Microsoft support and says that your computer has been hacked, hang up immediately. This is a common scam tactic used by hackers looking for an easy target, which could mean that your information is already compromised.
Be Wary of Unexpected Calls
If you receive an unexpected call from a number, not in your contacts, it's essential to be wary. Before answering the phone, ask who is calling and why they are reaching out to you. Suppose the person on the other end of your line identifies as someone who works for a legitimate company or organization (such as an insurance company). In that case, they will understand that you're concerned about their motives and intentions.
If someone claims to represent one of these organizations but sounds suspiciously like someone else—like a scammer trying desperately to get money out of rich people—it's best not to engage with them. This can be especially true if they use "funny" accents when speaking English. These clues indicate fraudulent activity because many foreigners use fake accents and particular dialects to impersonate Americans or British people.
Don't Engage With Unknown Numbers
It is important to note that if you receive a call or an SMS from an unknown number, it is best to ignore it. If you answer the call and give out personal information, such as your name and address, then there's no telling how far down the line they will go before they realize they got their hands on something they shouldn't have.
If anyone calls you out of the blue asking for money or goods (like drugs), hang up without saying anything else, and do not engage with them in any way, shape, or form!
Never Give Out Personal Information
To avoid becoming a victim of a phone scam, never give out personal information over the phone. This includes:
- Your name and address
- Your credit card number or bank account information
- Your social security number, birth date, and other sensitive personal details (like your mother's maiden name)
Never Call Back a Suspicious Number
- If you don't know who called, don't call back.
- If you know who called, make sure it's them before you call back.
- If the person on the phone is asking for money or personal information and sounds suspicious, hang up and call the number that was dialed initially to see if it's legitimate.
- If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, never give out any personal information.
- If it sounds like the person on the other end of the line is trying to scam you, hang up immediately.
Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're unsure about something. It's better to be safe than sorry, and even if it seems like the person on the other end of the line is being friendly, they can still be a scammer.
If you think someone may be trying to scam you, hang up immediately and call your bank or credit card company for help identifying who this person is so that they can make sure nothing terrible happens (like losing money).
If there are any red flags in their conversation with you—for example, long pauses between words or lines, frequent asking for personal information about yourself, silence when answering questions. Call them back as soon as possible so that no one gets hurt by this scammer! Your best bet is always going back into action mode when it comes down simply because people tend not to realize how much damage such tactics could do until later down the road.
We hope you enjoyed this guide. Remember, if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't! But if you keep these tips in mind and don't panic when someone claims to be from the IRS or some other kind of scammer, then your chances of being scammed are slim.
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