How to Protect Yourself from Phone Scams
As we continue to make advancements in technology as a society, scammers have correspondingly taken their work to the next level as well. It can be tricky to identify when you are being scammed, but there are some recognizable signs to look for. Here are some tips to keep you safe against phone scams.
Who do Phone Scams Target?
By far, the largest target of phone scams is elderly people over the age of 65. This happens for many different reasons. The first of which is that older people tend to use a landline rather than a cell phone. Some of these landlines do not even have caller ID. Therefore, they will pick up the phone every time it rings because they do not see that it is an unknown number. Millennials, in comparison, will hardly ever answer the phone if they do not know who it is.
Another reason that elderly individuals are targets is that they tend to be lonely and eager to talk to someone on the phone, no matter who it is. Scammers can push them into believing a fake story and then end up sending money or information. Usually, the scammer will pretend to be a family member of the elderly person. They will claim that they are in trouble and need money sent to them right away.
Cell Phone Scams
If a hacker were to find a phone number that belongs to you, they can cause a great amount of damage. They can find the number by searching the internet or even pulling an old phone bill out of the garbage. Once a hacker has someone’s phone number, they can call the carrier to find out some personal information. This will make it easy for them to break into online accounts using your phone number and all the information they have gleaned from you.
Ways to Protect Yourself
The number one way to protect yourself from scams is to keep all your information private. Shred your confidential documents instead of throwing them out, and do not post your phone number online. As well, do not give out any confidential information such as your social security number or bank accounts over the phone. If the organization is legitimate, they will have secure ways to get that information from you without making you feel uncomfortable.
If you get a phone call that is pressuring you to decide on something quickly, it is likely a scam. Scammers want you to act fast without thinking it over or consulting anyone else. They may give you a deadline such as ‘claim your prize by the end of this call by giving us the following information’. The easiest thing for you to do to protect yourself from this is to hang up.
Always make sure to do your research about a company. If you have an interest in what they have to say on the phone, tell them that you will consider it and let them know. At that point, you can take your time researching and making sure that it is not a scam. You can assume that it is just a scam if the representative on the phone starts arguing and trying to frighten you.
Try to keep an eye on your elderly friends and relatives to ensure that they do not get scammed. Explain to them about phone scams and ask them to tell you if they are ever unsure of someone’s motives. You can be saving them thousands of dollars by taking a few minutes to discuss it with them.
What If the Scam Already Happened?
If you notice that there is unusual activity on your online accounts or some money has gone missing, take a minute to think back. Were you communicating with someone new over the phone recently? You may be a victim of a phone scam. The first thing to do is make notes of everything that you can remember about the exchange. This includes phone numbers, times, topics of discussion, etc. After this, contact your police department to file a report.
Call your bank to inform them of any fraudulent charges. Hopefully, there shouldn’t be any problem with reversing them, as banks deal with fraud a lot. You will probably need new bank cards and PINs.It is a good idea to repeat this process with any of your online services, such as your cell phone company and insurance provider. With them on the lookout, it is harder for fraudulent charges to slip by.
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