Here Are Five Phone Call Scams That Can Rob You Of Lots Of Money
We are all very lucky to be living in the age of technology, but unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to living in this time period. One of the biggest ones is that all the new technology devices have given way to more and more phone scams targeting innocent people.
That’s why we’ve compiled five of the main phone scams happening right now that you need to watch out for.
Can You Hear Me?
Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center, explained that callers who begin a conversation by saying “Can you hear me?” are looking for a very specific answer, so you should pause before saying anything.
“By getting you to answer ‘yes’ to that one question at the very beginning of the call—as opposed to somewhere in the middle of the conversation, where dubbing would be more obvious—scammers can record your affirmative answer,” she said.
The caller can then use this recording to claim that you agreed to pay for some scam program. To be safe, you should answer this question by saying “I hear you just fine.”
Scammers often use fear tactics by doing things like threatening to call the police if you don’t pay up immediately. Do not fall for this, especially if the person says they are calling from the IRS.
“The only way the IRS will get in touch with you is in the mail, on official letterhead,” said John Sileo, a cybersecurity expert. He added that if you receive a call from someone from the IRS, hang up immediately and call a number that you have verified online.
If someone calls you claiming to be from Microsoft or Apple asking if you have computer problems, do not fall for it.
“No one is ‘watching’ your computer for signs of a virus,” said Velasquez. Sileo added that these scammers will not make any computer issues that you are having better. Instead, they will oftentimes make them worse by installing malware.
If you get a call saying that you’ve won a prize for a contest that you never entered, it’s tempting to believe the caller. However, real contests will only phone you if you have actually entered them.
“In a legitimate lottery or sweepstakes, you have to enter the contest somehow,” says Velasquez. “If you ever ‘win’ a prize that you didn’t enter—especially one with a prize worth millions of dollars—you’re probably being scammed.”
Some callers will act like they need your Social Security number because they are from jury commissions, but do not fall for this.
“When it’s from an organization that sounds authentic, people tend to give it up,” said cybersecurity expert Adam Levin. “You can’t give it up. You have to covet the information.”