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How to Spot a Phone Scam

By Caitlin Albright on  May 19, 2020

Millions of people each year fall victim to unsuspecting phone scams. In 2019 alone, people reported losing more than $667 million to imposters, who often pretended to be calling from the government or a reputable business. Protect your wallet by learning these common phone scam red flags:

You’re Asked to Make a Payment Via Prepaid Debit Card

A legitimate company or organization will not ask you to make a payment with a prepaid debit card, cash, or a gift card. Doing so makes it difficult for you to dispute, and almost impossible to get your money back in the event of a scam.

You Feel Pressured For Immediate Payment

If the caller is pushing you to make a decision or payment as quickly as possible, this is a red flag. By doing so, they are not giving you the chance to do your research and potentially realize you are being deceived. Don’t commit to something on the spot. A legitimate business will likely give you time to think it over.

They Ask For Your Account Number Or Personal Information

A caller should not ask you to confirm your personal information, such as an account number, SSN, or banking information, by reading it to them. Even if a caller says they’re with a government agency such as the Social Security Administration or IRS, it is not a good idea to give them sensitive information. If you have an account with the business already, they shouldn’t need to hear your personal information.

You’ve Won a Prize

Even if you have entered a contest or sweepstakes, be wary of callers saying you’ve won a prize. You should not be asked to give someone your bank information to receive your prize, even for processing fees or shipping charges. Legitimate sweepstakes will not ask you to pay a fee.

They Threaten to Immediately Cut Off Services

Your utility, water, phone, or internet provider will not cut off your service after just one phone call. If a caller claims that they will do so because of an overdue bill, but you have not received any other notification via mail with a prospective shutoff date, they are not being honest with you.  

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Tags: NOPEC, Phone Scams
Categories: Consumer Questions

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