You get a random phone call from an unknown number and answer the call wondering who it is. The scammer on the other end of the call claims you need to pay them a bunch of money in order to not go to jail. Shocked, you wonder what you did that was so bad to where you would owe the government thousands of dollars. Scammers trick their victims on a daily basis using fear to get what they want. This is why it is super important to know the examples of phone scams to watch out for and how to report phone scams.
Examples of Phone Scams to Watch Out For
Scammers call you, pretending that you won a contest even though you didn’t sign up for anything. They ask for your personal information so that they can figure out where to send the prize to. They also ask for your financial information so that they know where to deposit your funds to. However, after you give them all of this information, they hang up and block you while stealing your identity and your money.
Scammers call you pretending to be law enforcement and try to blackmail you into giving them money. You become scared and think that the only way you can stay out of jail is if you give them the requested money. You give the scammers the requested financial information that they ask for, but it’s still not enough. They continue to call and ask you for more and more money until you become bankrupt.
Scammers call you trying to sell a product or service to you for a deal that is too good to resist. You tell them that you need to think about the sale, but the scammer insists that you hurry up and make up your mind. Without any time to really think about whether or not you want the product or service, you decide to purchase it.
You give the scammers your personal and financial information so that they can ship it to your house. However, the scammers decide to hang up the call as soon as they get your information to steal your identity and drain your bank account.
Scammers pretend to be government officials, such as the IRS, requesting money and/or personal information, including social security numbers, from their innocent victims. The victims give their information away to these scammers, thinking that if they don’t they will go to jail. The scammers take their victims’ information and then block them. They then use this information to commit identity fraud and drain their bank accounts.
Gift Card/Wire Transfer Scams
Scammers come up with an excuse as to why their victims need to pay them. However, they tell their victims that they only accept gift card codes or wire transfers as types of acceptable payment.
If someone tells you something along these lines, this is a giant red flag that the person you are talking to is a scammer. Scammers ask for these types of payments since they are untraceable and nearly impossible for the victim to get their money back.
How to Report Phone Scams
- If you lost money due to the phone scam, you can report your phone scam to the FTC online or by calling 877-382-4357.
- If you have not lost money due to the phone scam but you thought that the call was suspicious, you can report this call to donotcall.gov
- Report Caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission online or by calling 888-225-5322.
When reporting phone scams, make sure to include the phone number that called you, even if you think it was a spoofed Caller ID. Also, make sure to include any callback numbers that the scammer may have provided you with.
How to Avoid Phone Scams
- Don’t give out any of your personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know over the phone for any reason.
- Wait to purchase things online on verified secure websites, watch out for fake websites!
- Don’t pay with a wire transfer or gift card over the phone.
- Register your phone number with the Do Not Call registry, and if you receive a telemarketing call after this you know it’s a scam.
- Don’t believe that you won a prize you didn’t actually register for.
- Don’t believe in Caller ID if the phone call sounds suspicious or asks you for money/your personal information.
- Research the company that is calling you to see if the offer is legit.
- Don’t rush your decision if the caller is trying to rush you, this means they are most likely a scammer.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with while you learn how to report phone scams.