Outsmarting Scammers During Fraud Awareness Week
You’re spending a nice evening at home when your telephone rings. You jump up to see who it is, hoping it’s an old friend, a doctor confirming an important appointment, or a family member with exciting news. But when you pick up the phone, you realize that it’s just a political call or an aggressive telemarketer. Has this happened to you? It’s annoying, right?
Sometimes, unwanted telemarketer calls are more than simply annoying. They’re dangerous.
Over the past few years, there have been a slew of phone scam stories. Con artists use a variety of tricks, including credit repair schemes or sweepstakes, to trick people into divulging their personal information, like their credit card or social security information. Sometimes, scammers even go so far as to claim to be someone else, like a doctor’s office calling to clarify information or a police officer following up on a parking ticket. While law enforcement tries vigilantly to crack down on scammers, unscrupulous people just keep coming up with sneakier and sneakier scams. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to avoid falling into a scammer’s traps. To celebrate Fraud Awareness Week, which runs from November 13th through 17th, here are some tips to help you stay one step ahead of scammers!
Identifying A Scam Call
Scammers use a variety of clever “hooks” to trick people:
- Travel packages
- Offers pertaining to credit or loans, like an offer to lower your interest rate or improve your credit score
- Business or investment opportunities. For example, someone may ask you to invest money to help them start a business or sell a product. Their scenarios are fabricated, and they rely on the complexity of investments and business to trick people.
- Charitable causes. After a natural disaster, particularly mean-spirited people might attempt to collect “donations” for a made-up charity.
- Foreign lotteries. Often operating from Canada, these calls promise exciting chances for American citizens to win money in foreign lotteries. Cross-border sales of lottery tickets are against the law, making this scam highly illegal.
- Free trial offers. When you start a “free” trial, you may get signed up for months of products (that you have to pay for) and it can be difficult to unsubscribe
Other warning signs of a scam call include promises of “free” prizes or urges to make your decision right away. Scammers may be pushy, fast-talking, or attempt to pressure you into signing up for a service or giving them your information.
How to Deal
- If you have caller ID, don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. If it’s someone important, they’ll leave a message.
- When greeted by a robotic voice (a robocall), hang up the phone. Even if you’re speaking to a live person, but feel uncomfortable at any point, it’s okay to hang up, too.
- Research a company, charity, or product before agreeing to send any donations or monetary support
- Even if you think an offer is legitimate, resist the pressure to make an immediate decision
- Register your number with the do-not-call list https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0133-cell-phones-and-do-not-call-registry
- Report any rude, aggressive, or suspicious callers at gov/complaint
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.