Hate telemarketers

Stop calling me by Maya Taylor

The Two-Step Method to Avoid Phone Scams

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.

Keep your credit card safe

One of the most valuable things you have is your credit card.  Credit cards often have high limits, meaning they allow you to purchase expensive items and pay them off over a series of months.  In short, credit cards are very useful.  However, they can also be used against you if an illegitimate telemarketer obtains your credit card information.  In order to avoid having your credit card information stolen by a telemarketer, there are two main signs of a scam that you need to watch out for.
First, does the scam sound too good to be true?  This is one of the most basic and effective techniques used to determine if a telemarketer is legitimate or not.  Take two situations as examples.  In situation one, you have been doing business with a company for years and a telemarketer from the company calls you and tries to get you to purchase additional products at market rate.  In this case, the telemarketer is probably legitimate.  Now consider a telemarketer who calls you and claims to represent a company you've never heard of.  He says that he's running a special deal on expensive clothing and, if you provide him with your credit card information, he will only charge you $5 per month.  This is clearly too good to be true, so it should raise a red flag.
Another warning sign to watch out for is when a telemarketer brings up foreign countries.  Do not engage with a telemarketer who says anything relating to investing in a foreign country.  These telemarketers will often make the "investment" options sound very attractive and mention things like high returns.  However, they are just out to get your credit card number and, once they have it, you won't be receiving any money from them at all.  They will use your credit card to make expensive purchases.
Telemarketers are often very cunning.  Ensure to remember these telemarketer scams the next time a telemarketer calls you.

Lottery and Grandchildren scams

The most effective scams tend to be the easiest ones. Often telemarketer scams will involve an international lottery. Almost everyone knows how the lotteries work, and a large number of people play the lotteries. If people play them at home, they will be attracted to playing them abroad. Scammers count on this. In a common lottery scam, you receive a cheque from an international lottery in a foreign country. Shortly after this, you receive a phone call telling you that you received the cheque so that you can pay fees, taxes or insurance to free up your larger lottery winnings. You are directed to deposit the cheque and then send the money back to cover these fees, with more money coming soon. However the cheque you have received is counterfeit. By the time your bank determines it is counterfeit and notifies you, it is too late. You have already sent the funds overseas, out of your own account.

Another highly effective lottery scam involves you receiving a call from a telemarketer offering to enroll you in a foreign lottery. To make it easy for you, the caller even offers to take a small amount each week, charging your credit card to make it even more convenient. The amount can be as small as $10. Occasionally the scammer will send you some small ‘winning’ amount, however the pay outs will never match what you have are paying weekly. Ultimately the small payments add up, and you are out a large sum of money before you figure out that you are being scammed.

Family members are often used to lend credibility to scams, and Seniors are often the prey. A highly effective scam aimed at Seniors is one that has the Senior receive a call form a young person who begins the conversation by saying, “Grandma (or Grandpa) it’s me”. The Senior will offer a name that the caller will adopt, and then begin to tell a story that requires the grandparent to offer financial assistance because the youth is in a jam, and they don’t want to tell their parents because they would get into trouble. The ever-loving grandparent agrees to help, and the caller says they will send a friend over to pick up the money. If the Senior is told the caller is abroad and they have to wire the money, shortly after the first payment they will receive a second call from someone pretending to be a lawyer asking for even more money to pay for services to help out the troubled youth. If there are multiple calls, the losses can add up quickly.

In most telemarketing scams, the calls originate from foreign countries. While many Telemarketing Scammers are convincing, it is wise to be wary of calls received from foreign countries, especially from people you don’t know.  Always remember, if the offer is too good to be true, because, it probably is.

5 Common Telemarketing Scams And How To Avoid Them

Telemarketers have been around for decades. Most are harmless and, at the very worst, you’re annoyed at having dinner interrupted. But there are other telemarketers that will try to scam those they call out of thousands of dollars. This is when their calling becomes more than annoying, it becomes downright criminal.
There are a few common telemarketing scams to watch out for. A lot of scams target seniors and other vulnerable groups, but anyone can still be a victim.
1. You won an international lottery. In this scam, the caller says that you won the lottery in some foreign country, but in order to receive your winnings you need to pay a “small fee” for tax purposes or to insure the winnings. You might even receive a check for a couple of thousand dollars. They’ll have you wire the money to a foreign country, but when you go to deposit the check they sent, you’ll find out it’s a fake.
2. Utility company scam. Someone will call claiming to be from the local utility company (water, gas, electricity, etc). They’ll tell you that your bill is overdue and you can avoid having your services shutoff if you agree to pay your bill, plus late charges. They may just ask for a credit card number or they can ask for your checking account information for a direct payment. These scams typically target senior citizens.
3. Fake IRS scam. Most people prefer not to run afoul of the IRS. That’s what scammers count on when they call unsuspecting taxpayers and tell them that they owe money. The person will be told that if they don’t pay, then they face a lawsuit or arrest. But you can pay them with a credit card or wire transfer and the IRS won’t pursue you any further. The IRS does not ask for credit card or bank account information over the phone.
4. Fake charities. This scam is when a person calls claiming to be from a charity that sounds familiar (their names will sound very much like large, well-known charities). You’ll be asked to make a donation with either a credit card or check. If you do get a call from a charity, ask them to send you information by mail so you can read more about them before handing over your hard-earned money.
5. Identity theft insurance. In today’s digital age, identity theft is a very real possibility and can be a nightmare for the victim. Scammers will prey on these fears when they call saying you’re credit card number can be used by thieves to run up thousands of dollars in debts, and that you’ll be on the hook for those debts unless you buy their “insurance” for a few hundred dollars. Federal law already protects you from liability if your credit card number is stolen.
There are many more types of telemarketing scams out there. Some are variations on the ones listed above, while others get very creative in how they steal money from their victims. The best rule of thumb for avoiding many scams: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if someone claims you owe money (like in the utility and IRS scams), you can call the utility company or IRS directly to verify the status of your accounts. It’s best to stay vigilant and always do your homework before handing over money to a stranger.




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