They say you’ve won a prize – all you need to do is pay for shipping and handling. They claim to be your bank, needing to do a security confirmation and just need your pin number. They tell you they’re from the IRS and say you owe money and can pay over the phone right then.
Don’t believe them. They lie.
Usually a phone scammer is someone pretending to belong to an organization so they can get your personal information and exploit it for profit.
Some scammers claim to know you from work, and others may send you an email, convincing you to call them for some awesome deal you just can’t live without.
One scam currently plaguing phone customers is a caller who knows your first name and claims they are from Microsoft and that they received a security alert about your computer. These callers are trying to get you to adjust your security settings in your personal computer so they can harvest your sensitive information, including banking and credit cards.
How to Protect Yourself from Phone Call Scammers
There are some very simple ways to protect yourself from phone call scams such as:
- Never give out personal information, such as a credit card number, to a caller.
- While you can protect yourself with an unpublished phone number, scammers may be using a computer to generate phone numbers. Don’t let your guard down believing that a private number will protect you in case callers get through.
- Hang up. You have the power. You don’t have to talk to anyone you don’t wish to. Don’t worry about being rude; you are protecting yourself.
- Your scammer may be personable and seem like a very nice person. Don’t be fooled. Ask probing questions when in doubt.
- Trust yourself. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Hang up on that phone call scam.
So if you get a call asking for credit card numbers, personal information or telling you that you have won a prize and simply need to pay shipping and handling to claim it, don’t fall for it. These are common ways phone call scams take advantage of unsuspecting people every day.
Get educated. Read about how these scams work at the FTC. Scammers are constantly refining their methods and reaching out to phone owners, mainly landlines, but it is possible to receive these types of calls on your cell phone. Recognizing a phone call scam is the first step in protecting yourself.
The bottom line is: Don’t share your personal information over the phone.
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This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.