While we hoped that the scam call phenomenon would have retired by now, that unfortunately hasn’t happened yet. The more we learn about scammer’s methods, the more they devise new ways to rope in targets. These calls can be incredibly dangerous, as they’re often used to extract private information from us. Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to identify these calls once you know what to look out for. Our short guide on how to identify scam calls contains all the information you need to practice safe phone habits.
1. Your Phone Only Rings Once
If an unknown number rings once and hangs up, don’t call back. These is a technique that’s used by international callers to get you to call them and rack up substantial charges.
2. They Claim to be From the Government
You may receive a call that claims you’ve missed jury duty or owe money on your taxes. Sometimes, the caller will go so far as to say there’s a warrant out for your arrest. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. The government will never call you for these sorts of claims.
3. They’re Calling for a Charity
Sometimes, you might get a call from someone trying to collect money for a charity that benefits firefighters or police officers. They may be illegitimate if they’re extremely abrasive or make demands rather than requests—such as asking how you will pay instead of requesting it. Look up the charity in question before donating, as it could be a fraudulent organization that will keep your money for themselves.
4. Tech Support
At times, your computer will display a popup stating it’s infected with a virus and it will prompt you to call the listed number. If you call, you’ll then be told to share your computer password and this information will be used to hack into your accounts. Don’t panic if you can’t close the window—simply restart your computer and there should be no lingering risk.
What to do if You Receive a Scam Call
- Hang up immediately.
- Do not give away any personal information, including your social security number, bank information, and address.
- Block and report any numbers that call repeatedly.
- Don’t engage in any wire transfers or exchanges of money.
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