Despite the technology that has been created to block them, phone scammers still trick thousands of Americans every year. In fact, 7,157,370 complaints were made against robocallers and telemarketers in 2017 alone. Some of these scams are simple, and some involve more planning, but they all have a common goal: to convince you to transfer your money to them. Whether it be in the form of telemarketing, robocalling, or neighbor spoofing, these scams target the people perceived as the most likely to fall for them, including the elderly, millenials, and students. While some lose a few dollars, many lose thousands of dollars, even their life savings, to these scammers.
In 2017, scammers posed as IRS agents, computer tech support, debt collectors, and more to steal unsuspecting individuals’ money. They called supposedly collecting student loan debt, credit card debt, and taxes. They even called people to give them “cash prizes” or to offer “investment opportunities” just to collect their personal information. Of course, some scammers took their scams to another level by hiring strangers to collect money.
So how do you protect yourself from phone scammers? The truth is, it’s hard to protect yourself from receiving these calls to begin with. “Do Not Call” lists only help to a certain extent, as does blocking unknown numbers — the robocallers, telemarketers, and scammers will find a way to reach you despite these measures. Here’s what you can do to minimize your chances of becoming the victim of a scheme:
- Don’t answer the phone when an unknown number calls or texts. Then, run a phone number search on the digits that appear on the screen.
- If you do pick up the phone, ask the right questions to confirm the identity of the caller.
- Whatever you do, do NOT give personal information over the phone.
- If you are still unsure, continue to research the details of the caller. Maybe this scammer managed to fool someone before you and the word is getting out.
- Finally, if you have confirmed that this was a scam call, report the number to the FCC. This won’t necessarily stop the scammer from calling you again from a different number, but the FCC can flag offenders to protect other consumers.
Recovering from a scam can be an unpleasant and messy business — with PeopleLooker, you may avoid becoming a victim in the first place.