Most notorious phone scams
Are you familiar with the most prominent ways in which phone scammers try to lure away money or sensitive personal information? Do you know a common way that a phone scam begins, develops and ends? Whether you answered yes or no, it is always useful to remember or get to know something new which is going to help you or the people you care about stay safe.
“I was in a car accident.”
Regardless of your location in the world, this scam is prominent globally. Usually, the target is an older person, preferably one with grandchildren or younger offsprings. What happens is that an unknown caller reaches out to an unsuspecting victim. They answer and are immediately bombarded with ramblings, crying and asking for help. The scenarios could differ, but usually, the scammer poses as a grandchild or relative of some sort. They claim to have been involved in a car accident where people got hurt. Fake grandchild would claim he or she was guilty and thus is scared.
The good part is that no police were called and they managed to make a deal. A substantial amount of money, in cash or via a deposit has to be done today, or the suffering party will call the police and sue. Empathic elderly seniors offer their financial help and get accurate instructions to make a deposit or where to bring the cash. When those instructions are followed, (cash pickups are usually done in a remote or unsuspicious location) and money gets delivered - the criminals disappear.
“This is your bank calling ”
This fraud differs from the “car accident” one because with this scam you could fall into a pit of never-ending issues. In this scenario, a scammer would call you and identify themselves as a bank branch manager or employee. They would usually claim that there has been some mix-up with data and they need to clarify some personal information. They would then proceed to ask regular questions, like your name, surname, date of birth etc. However, questions would progress to more sensitive data later on, such as your social security number, bank account numbers and PIN info, etc. By quickly gaining the victim’s trust by providing some short-term confidence boost and pretending to be a bank employee, a scammer can lure out vital data. They continue to take a lot (if not everything) from your bank account never to be heard from again.
“You are being investigated for tax fraud.”
In this scenario, a victim answers to a private number (usually). The caller quickly identifies as an agent for your local tax inspectorate (for example, the IRS in the US, etc.). He says that you are under investigation for potential tax fraud due to suspicious activity. They could even state some of your recent purchases or recent financial activity to get you to fall for their scams. These scammers will try to get access to your finances through trickery. If you hand them access to your bank accounts, you can consider your savings and cash to be long gone.
Simple tricks to keep you safe
To be at the receiving end (or even worse, being tricked by those scammers) is not fun at all. However, there are a few tips to help you keep yourselves safe:
- NEVER give out personal information over the phone.
- Your bank or local tax inspectorates would never ask for personal bank information or passwords. Do not tell them over the phone.
- When you suspect a scam, drop the call. Quickly get on the internet and use a reverse phone number lookup online. You can get some more information about the caller.
- Ask to move the discussion of personal or financial matters from the phone to a real meeting. A fraudster will always back out.