We live in a time where our phones are constantly ringing with unwanted spam calls. Sometimes these calls are scammers with elaborate strategies and tactics designed to convince you to give over your personal information or money. Today we will discuss a few tips for detecting a financial or identity theft scam, as well as a few ways to help protect yourself from a scam.
How can you tell if the call you received is a scam?
- Scammers will want you to take action quickly, and often times while you are still on the phone. This is typically because they will try to scare you into taking immediate action and don't want to give you time to check the facts on the false information that they are trying to pass as real. It is often a good practice to take down as much information as you can, and then fact check the information yourself before you do anything. Remember not to give over any of your personal information.
- Usually these scams will either start with some form of scare tactic, or a claim that you have won some sort of prize. A scam call I personally receive is one alleging that I have won a free cruise and that the "company" just has to verify my information that I am the winner. As for scare tactics, another common scam is that your social security number has been stolen and that an "officer" will speak with you about getting your identity theft issue resolved. Both of these scams are looking to steal your personal information, such as your Social Security number.
- When it comes to scammers trying to take money from you, be cognitive of the method of payment they are trying to get you to use. Some common payment methods scammers will use are asking you to pay with gift cards, and mailing of a check or transferring money through an online money transfer company.
How can you protect yourself from a scam if you think you are the target of a scammer?
- Don't make a quick decision. If the issue you are being informed of over the phone is from a legitimate company or source they will give you time to assess and research the information yourself. Don't provide personal information or make a payment because you received a phone call that appears normal.
- Scammers will try to make themselves appear as legitimate. A good practice is to take down information if you receive a suspected scam call, and not give any personal information to the individual on the phone and get off the phone. After the call, search for the customer service number of the company or organization they claim to represent and call them yourself to see if they have a record of the issue. Do not use a number given to you by the person who called you first.