Are You Vulnerable to Falling Victim to a Telephone Scam?

With so many scams happening on the internet these days, you would think telephone scams would be a scam of the past; however, that’s not true. Since so many telephone scams target the elderly, these predators are still on the prowl for vulnerable victims. A good rule of thumb when dealing with these types of calls is to assume that they are likely a scam if you didn’t call the person on the other end of the phone call. Telephone scammers are becoming smarter and learning to evolve. Some have even found a way to display their names as government agencies and popular companies, tricking their victim into believing they’re speaking to a reputable agent of a business, government agency, or non-profit.  

7 Leading Telephone Scams Causing Problems for Consumers 

Many types of telephone scams are being used at any time, but the most common ones creating problems for consumers are listed below. Keep reading for more information about these scams and tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones from being victimized by these predators. 

  • Governmental Agencies: If you look at your phone and it says you’re receiving an official call from the government, you should have your guard up. Scammers typically use phony IRS or Social Security caller identification labels to trick and confuse victims. Be cautious unless you’ve called one of these agencies or received another form of correspondence. The caller will start by saying they are federal agents and that you owe them money. They will use intimidation tactics, like threats of prosecution, arrest, or lawsuits. An important thing to remember is that neither of the agencies mentioned would ever call you demanding money. If you owe money to the IRS or Social Security Administration, you will receive a paper bill by mail. Another tip-off that these calls are not creditable is they will ask you to send things like gift cards, which are not in line with agency payment standards.  

  • Family Trouble: If you receive a garbled call from a loved one, it’s reasonable to be alarmed. In these telephone scams, predators send targets grainy, broken calls claiming a family member is in deep trouble, like a car accident or breakdown, or in need of bail money. The victim assumes they are speaking to a child or grandchild and provides them with payments to help them out. You should never do this without confirming the identity of the caller. Call the family member directly or call a relative close enough to that person to ensure this is a valid concern. If they are in legal trouble, call your local police department or courthouse.  

  • Consumer Scams: Consumer telephone scams are fraudulent calls attempting to trick a victim into purchasing a non-tangible product. The product is typically a service, like an auto warranty, debt consolidation, or health insurance. As we mentioned, you should be cautious when receiving a call from any solicitor you’ve never previously heard of or contacted. Do not give them any personal information or attempt to make any payments. Hang up and call the company directly.  

  • Bank Fraud: Many scammers pose as your bank, claiming they are contacting you regarding potential fraudulent purchases on your account. In a panic, you give them your account information as well as personal information. The next thing you know, your account has been cleared of all funds. The bank will never call to ask you for bank information or other sensitive data. Hang up and call your bank directly at a verified branch phone number. If you happen to have online access or an app for your account, check for more information.  

  • Tech Support Calls: Many seniors are targeted for tech support scams because they are seen as vulnerable to technical difficulties. You should be cautious if you get a call from a popular company such as Apple or Microsoft saying that they have detected a virus or some other problem on your computer. The scammer will pretend to try and help resolve your technical difficulties.  While they are presumedly fixing your phone, they’re actually downloading malware or installing tracking or backdoor access to your phone and computer. The scammer will use this access to steal sensitive documents and personal data. The important thing to remember is that these companies do not typically contact consumers to fix your phone without an initial request, and they will not request computer access to make repairs to your phone or vice versa.  

  • Charity/Missionary Scams: After a natural disaster or public calamity, scammers can pose as a non-profit or charity collecting funds on behalf of those in need. These scammers will claim to be collecting money for anything from hurricane survivors to buying toys for children. They rely on the goodness of others to get donations. You can find many tools online to see whether a charity or a missionary is credible. You can protect yourself by researching before donating to any charity. You can also search online to see how much of your donations are going towards vital services and how much is just going to the business owners. If the person on the other end of the call is applying heavy pressure to encourage donation right now, proceed with caution. They could be trying to get your money before you realize their scam.  

  • Lottery/Giveaway Scams: Lotter scams begin with a call saying that you have won a giveaway or lottery. These calls are fake, and they will usually ask you to pay some sort of upfront fee or tax on the winnings. They may also ask for your bank information so they can “deposit your winnings.” If you receive this type of call, hang up immediately.  

If you get a call from any of these scammers, end the call and save the phone number if one shows on the caller ID. You should then report the call as telephone fraud. This is not a full list of every possible scam that is out there, but hopefully, this will help you learn to identify a scam telephone call better and learn to protect yourself.  

Contact Lam Law Firm 

If you’ve already fallen victim to one of these scams, let us help you. We are not here to judge; we are here to help. Come in for your free consultation to see how our attorneys can help with your financial issues. Call us today at (843) 695-7700