Has your phone ever received a call from a strange number. There is no caller id or the call just features a strange location. If you have ever answered the phone on purpose or accidentally you usually come to find a caller trying to sell you something or offer you a package of some kind. For most people this situation is very uncomfortable and they do not know what to say, so they just hang up the phone.
Other people converse with the stranger on the other end of the line and are told that they have been selected for a special event or have won a huge prize. They are then asked for personal information to claim their promised reward. If any of these situations sound familiar, you have probably been harassed by a phone scam.
Every year, many people lose money to phone scams, telemarketers and cold callers. Some are very lucky and only lose a small amount of money. Others lose thousands of dollars to frauds. A phone scam is considered a ploy to entice you to give out certain personal information to a stranger on the phone. This information could be your name, address, family information, credit card or account numbers or your social security number.
These strangers calling usually start off their pitch with, “you've been specially selected (for this offer), you'll get a free bonus if you buy our product, you've won one of five valuable prizes, you've won big money in a foreign lottery, this investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else”. These are the most used pitches, but there are many more used. What these scammers are trying to do is extract any type of information from you as they can before you hang up the phone. They will do whatever it takes from offering you expensive prizes to travel packages, to get your personal information. By giving these scammers your information, you are being susceptible to all the forms of identity theft. These scammers are very good at being extremely elusive, so if anything is stolen: you may never get it back.
These scammers are very dangerous and untraceable. They pose a serious threat to your personal information and affect everyone daily. And there comes the most important question: how to avoid telemarketer/cold caller scams? The answer is to use a two-step process.
Some of the best tips to deal with these unwanted callers is to ask yourself some questions if you do get a call. Ask yourself, who’s calling and why? If you have the time you can google the phone number and find a reverse phone website and find more info on the number. If they are talking extremely fast, ask what’s the hurry? If they are offering free items and still asking for payment information, ask yourself why they are asking for my information? If they are asking for your confirmation on billing information and you have never heard from this person or company before, ask yourself how did they get my information and why am I confirming it? These are just some example of questions you should ask yourself.
Make a full list for yourself so you know exactly what to think about once you receive one of these strange calls. This analysis of the call is the first thing you need to do before you say anything to this stranger.
If any of the red flags go up on your analysis, you will know a scammer is on the other end of the line. Upon gaining this knowledge, the best thing to do is say “no thank you” and hang up the phone. By doing this simple two-step process, you can assure that you will not be fooled by any scammers. If you wish to do so, you may contact the Federal Trade Commission or FTC to report a scammer. They will ask you some basic information and usually ask you to explain what the stranger was offering. By reporting these scams to the FTC, information from similar reports will be compiled and eventually could lead to the source of the scammers.
Phone scams affect many people every day. If you ever get a call and are asked for personal information, feel free to hang up the call. By staying on the line, you give the scam artist the opportunity to extract more information from you that you may not like. Do not fall into the hands of these frauds and simply, hang up the phone.