It seems like just about every other day, we hear about a new phone scam that’s making the rounds. In fact, it’s been estimated that phone scams have cost Americans more than $350 million in losses over the last decade. That’s a lot of money!
Most of these scams are pretty straightforward: someone calls you and tries to trick you into giving them your personal information or wiring them money. But there are also some scams that are a bit more complicated and can be tough to spot if you’re not familiar with them.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common phone scams that have been reported over the last decade, and we’ll give you some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim yourself.
The IRS Scam
One of the most common scams is the “IRS scam.” In this scam, someone will call you and claim to be from the IRS. They’ll say that you owe taxes, and if you don’t pay up immediately, you’ll face arrest or other penalties. This is a total scam – the IRS will never call you out of the blue like this. If you get a call like this, hang up immediately.
Scammers usually play on peoples’ emotions, in this case, fear. That’s why it’s important to be aware of these scams, so you don’t let your emotions get the best of you if you do receive one of these calls.
The Free Vacation Scam
Another common scam is the “free vacation” scam. In this one, someone will call and tell you that you’ve won a free vacation. All you have to do is pay a small fee to cover taxes and fees, and you’re all set! Of course, there’s no such thing as a free vacation, and you’ll end up losing a lot more money than the fee you paid to book the trip.
There’s a certain joy to getting free things. Many people will let their guard down when they hear the word “free,” which is why this scam is so successful. If you ever get a call like this, just hang up.
The Grandparent Scam
This scam is proof that scammers can be monsters. In this scam, a person calls you and pretends to be your grandchild. They’ll say that they’re in some kind of trouble – maybe they’ve been arrested, or they’re stranded in another country – and they need money right away.
Of course, this isn’t really your grandchild, and they’re not in any trouble. They’re just trying to trick you into sending them money. This is a heartless scam, and it preys on people’s generosity and love for their family members. If you get a call like this, confirm that it’s really your grandchild before you send any money. Use a reverse phone lookup service to see if the grandchild is really calling you.
The Fake Charity Scam
In this scam, someone will call you and ask for a donation to a fake charity. They might say that they’re raising money for a good cause, like helping the victims of a natural disaster. Or they might say that they’re representing a well-known charity, like the Red Cross.
Scammers will often try to pressure you into giving them a donation right away. They might say that the need is urgent or that they’ll only be able to take your donation for a limited time. Don’t fall for it! If you want to donate to a charity, do your research first to make sure that it’s a legitimate organization.
How to Avoid Phone Scams
Now that you know some of the most common phone scams, you might be wondering how you can avoid becoming a victim yourself. Here are a few tips:
-Never give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. This includes your Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number, or any other sensitive information.
-If someone calls and asks for money, just hang up. Don’t wire them any money, and don’t give them your credit card number.
-Be wary of anyone who calls and tries to rush you into making a decision. Take your time, and if possible, get off the phone and do some research before you make any decisions.
-If you’re not sure if a call is legitimate, you can always use a reverse phone lookup service to see who is really calling you.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the many phone scams that have been reported over the last decade. Remember, if you ever get a suspicious call, hang up immediately. Don’t give out any personal information, and don’t send any money.
If you think you may have been a phone scam victim, contact your local police department or the Federal Trade Commission to file a report. And be sure to spread the word to your friends and family members, so they can also avoid these scams.