Common Phone Scams and How to Avoid Them
As of 2018, it is estimated that 1 out of every 10 Americans falls victim to phone scams, with an average loss of more than $400 per each person. The shocking total of money lost in phone scams is nearly $10 billion over 2017, and this crisis has affected millions of people.
The rise of phone scams is easier these days because many people walk around with their mobile phones for most of the day, which makes it easier to contact them. To avoid phone scams, you need to know how phone scammers operate, and how you can distinguish between legitimate phone calls and calls from people who want to take your money.
How Do Phone Scams Work?
In 2018, there are several types of phone scams that you should know about, and these are the most common ones:1. One-ring scams
With the one-ring scam, scammers call phones and let them ring ones. When the owner of the phone sees a missed call, he/she will call back the number of the missed call, and by doing so, they are charged a $19.95 connection fee. Each minute will cost more money, and fill the pockets of the scammers. Many of the one-ring phone scams originate from the Caribbean, and some of the area codes the phone calls are made from are 876, 284, 268, 809 and 473.
These types of scams usually happen after people recently purchased a new mobile phone. Phone scammers will call and offer the phone owners insurance for it to get their hands on your financial information. To avoid these types of frauds, you should never hand out your financial information quickly; you should use ask for credentials from the caller, as well as a return phone number.3. Recorded message scams
Who doesn't want to receive a phone call letting them know they have won an award? Most of us would love to get prize phone calls, but they are unfortunately very common phone scams. With these types of scams, the scammers leave a voice mail letting you know you have won an award, and to get it; you need to call a certain phone number. If you do call back the number the voicemail specified, you will be charged with a great deal of money just for making the phone call, money that goes straight to the scammers.
4. IRS phone scams
IRS phone scammers send a text message or a voice mail cautioning you that the IRS is out to get you. Messages like this go along the lines of “IRS internal revenue service is to inform you IRS is filling [sic] lawsuit against you due to tax evasion and IRS has strong evidence that you have failed to file your actual income tax which was higher than it was supposed to be. To get more information about this case file, call our department division number [spoofed phone number]. I repeat [spoofed phone number]. Now if we don’t hear from you, we have to issue arrest warrant under your name and get you arrested.”. Many people are afraid to get in trouble with the IRS, so they follow orders and transfer money to pay their "debt." You should know that the IRS does not take these types of measures against people who are in debt, and instead, they send regular mail and a request that you pay. So, if you receive phone calls or messages from the "IRS," ignore them, or contact the IRS to find out if you need to pay them any fees.5. Information verification phone scams
Information phone scammers pretend to be an insurance agent or other people of authority who need to verify your personal information. It is vital that you know that companies prefer using more money saving methods of gathering information, such as email, and not phone calls. You should also avoid giving out your personal information to strangers, and not surrender to the pressure insurance scammers put on people who refuse to give out their info; it's a part of their MO.
How to Avoid Phone Scams?
Phone scams can cost you a lot of money and even lead to identity theft, so you should avoid them at all costs. First of all, do not answer or return calls to numbers you do not know, and never give out your information to people or companies you are unfamiliar with.
If you want to find out who a certain phone number belongs to, you can use a phone scam service that will track down its origin. When you type a phone number you want information about into the scam phones directory, it will scan public records to find out who the phone number belongs to. By using this service, you will be able to find out if the person of the company who called you are legitimate, of they have a criminal background, and if they might be pulling a phone scam on you.
Phone scam affects millions of lives each year, so it is very important that you be cautious about who you answer to and who can get your private information.