In 2018, 29.2% of phone calls were fraudulent telephone scams. In 2019, it is estimated that nearly half of all calls going out will be a telephone scam. Consumers need to be safeguarded against scams more than ever. The best way to protect yourself is to be informed and aware of some of the most common types of telephone scams going around. Here are five of the most common telephone scams to lookout for:
IRS Phone Scam
One of the most popular scams seen in 2018 was phone scams related to the IRS. The scam involves someone calling you pretending to be with the IRS. They say you owe money and the caller will likely threaten you with fines or even prison time. It can be an effective scare tactic to uninformed people. The IRS phone scam is easy to identify. According to the IRS, they will never call and threaten you to make a payment. The IRS will also never call you unless they have mailed you a bill first.
Health Insurance Phone Scams
Health Insurance and Medicare can be confusing and telephone scammers use that confusion to their advantage. Their primary target is senior citizens. The scammers call people while impersonating a health insurance professional. They will say you don’t have coverage or that they have better coverage for you. The phone scammer’s goal is to steal your personal information or even to collect a fee from you for assisting you with your coverage. This scam can be difficult to identify. Frequently the scammer will have inaccurate information to your situation that will give them away. If you are unsure, play it safe and just hang up.
Auto Warranty Scams
Telephone scammers frequently pose as insurance agents, car dealers, and auto manufacturers. They tell their victims that their warranty or insurance has lapsed and they need to pay now. The scammer might even have some of the information about your real car! If the person on the phone asks for any of your personal information or billing information it is likely a scammer.
If you are ever called and the person calling you is offering you a free vacation, it is a scam. Regrettably people do not randomly give vacations away. The telephone scammer’s goal will be to get your personal information or they will ask you to pay a small fee to cover the tax of the free vacation. Unless you specifically entered a competition that was giving out vacations to the winner, just hang up.
Lower Electricity Bill
In this scam, the scammer will be calling you with the opportunity to lower your utilities bill. Utilities related scams are always paired with a sense of urgency. The offer to lower your bill will be a limited time offer or a pay now or never deal. The scammer will ask for your billing information.
What do you do if you get a fraudulent call?
- End the call right away! If you are ever unsure if a claim made by a caller is legitimate, hang up and call the company or agency they are identifying as directly.
- If you get a call from a number you don’t know, never call back without verifying the phone number through some research.
- Want to take it a step further? If you think you may have been a victim of a phone scam, then file a complaint with the FTC. You can file a complaint with the FTC online or call 877-382-4357.
If you ever receive a call about your banking and you are unsure of the legitimacy of the call, please contact us or call directly at 409-276-2525.