Are you worried about being scammed over the phone? You should be, according to reports from phone apps like Hiya. Hiya reported in March 2018 that fake phone scams (such as IRS and tax scams) increased 1,218% between January 2017 to February 2018.
Imagine losing money all because you answer a phone call and trust someone on the other end. From a distance, it might seem easy to spot phone scams, but they work very well as the scammers have gained experience perfecting their lies. Phone scams remain #2 on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” list.
How Do Different Types of Phone Scams Work?
You receive a phone call (unsolicited) from someone who claims to be from the IRS, FBI, or another government body. They may also leave (supposedly) urgent voicemails or call via robocalls. Often they even use spoofed numbers. They claim that you have an urgent bill for unpaid fines, tax bills, etc. They ask you, as part of their con, to send them cash. Other times they will request a prepaid credit, gift, or debit card. Some even ask for iTunes cards.
They sound threatening and may say they will report you, arrest, deport you, or even suspend your driver’s license if the debt isn’t unpaid. Some will threaten to involve local police or other law enforcement groups. They might ask for your credit/debit card number over the phone. Once you give them the information, they will use or sell it. If you send the scammers money, it will furnish their crimes and not pay off any debts you legitimately owe.
United States Area Codes You Should Not Answer
202 (Washington, D.C.), 206 (Seattle), 315 (Upstate New York), 470 (Atlanta), 631 (Central and East Long Island, New York), 314 (St. Louis, Missouri), 415 (San Francisco), 786 (Miami), 646 (New York City), 900 (premium rate telephone number in U.S. and Canada).
International Scam Area Codes
242 (The Bahamas), 268 (Antigua and Barbuda), 284 (British Virgin Islands), 473 (Grenada), 664 (Montserrat), 649 (Turks and Caicos Island), 767 (Commonwealth of Dominica), 809, 829, and 849 (Dominican Republic), and 876 (Jamaica).
One of the most talked area codes is “809” from the Caribbean. Meanwhile, area codes like “473” may seem to originate domestically, but stem from the island of Grenada. You could be charged up to $5 per minute for these calls!
What to Do If You Get a Call from These Area Codes for Phone Scams
- Never give out any personal, private, or financial information via phone.
- Write down the number that called you.
- Make notes about any websites or numbers they give you and anything that was said.
- If you think the call is authentic, ask for a call back number and extension, then verify the number via a search on Social Catfish.
- Report phone scams, lost funds, or suspected fraud to the FTC:
- Report IRS phone scams about the IRS by calling (800) 366-4484 or entering your information here:
- If you need to talk about taxes still owed, you can reach the IRS at (800) 829-1040.
Review your phone bill carefully, to check for charges from a scammer. Also, look for additional services you may have been billed that you do not recognize. Callers may pretend to be from almost any government body. Educate yourself on safety tips for online callers and never waiver from your safety measures.
Stay Safe from Phone Scam Area Codes
Many people receive scam calls and fall for them, even though they have read articles like this and feel they should know better. Always stop and think through what anyone on a phone call is telling you. You should not give out any personal, private, or financial information to anyone who calls you unexpectedly.
Search the name or phone number of anyone who calls you on Social Catfish for a fine-tuned, proprietary algorithm based search! Begin protecting yourself today!