The Utility Scam
Another dated but still effective fraud is the utility scam. In this case, the criminal pretends to be calling from the water, gas, or electric department in pursuit of an outstanding bill that must be paid immediately to prevent service interruption. This scam often targets not just residents, but small businesses with owners likely too busy to check on the details and more reluctant to risk having their water or lights shut off.
The Neighbor Scam
The neighbor scam employs the caller ID spoof to make it appear that someone is calling the victim’s phone from a local number, which people are more likely to answer. The caller pretends to be speaking for a neighbor in an emergency or even from a school nurse claiming to need personal information for their files.
Jury Duty Scams
Skipping jury duty is a serious matter that can result in real consequences. One of those consequences, however, will not be a phone call from a U.S. marshal or any other government agent threatening arrest if the victim doesn’t immediately pay a fine. That’s the jury duty scam, and although it’s been around for a long time, it still finds new victims every year.
The recovery scam just might be the worst of the bunch for one simple reason: it targets victims who have already been victimized. Scammers buy and sell so-called “sucker lists” — records of people who have already been scammed — and use that information to follow up with good news: They’ve recovered the money you lost in the original scam. All they need is your personal data to make sure they have the right person and/or a small fee, and they’ll help you recover the money you lost to the first scammer. There is, of course, no restitution. The scammer is merely double-dipping.
What to Do if You Get a Suspicious Call
Now that you know which scams you’re most likely to encounter, it’s important to know what to do if you think you’ve been targeted. The scammer could be casting a wide net or targeting you specifically. In either case, the actions you take or don’t take could mean the difference between being victimized and avoiding the scam. You might even be able to help authorities nab the criminals responsible for the fraud.
Screen Unfamiliar Calls
The single best way to avoid being taken in a phone scam is to never make contact with the scammer in the first place. That means your best bet in most cases is simply not to answer calls with blocked or private numbers or that you otherwise don’t recognize. “If you do not recognize the phone number on your caller ID, do not answer the phone,” Lavelle says. “Let it go to voicemail or the answering machine. Most telemarketers will hang up and not leave a message. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.”
Don’t Follow Instructions
Both human scammers and automated robocall recordings often try to get you to take some sort of action just to see if they’ve reached a live person. “Never follow the automated voice asking you to press 1,” Lavelle says. “Do not push any numbers to reach a live operator. This signifies that the autodialer has reached a live number and this will probably lead to more robocalls.”
Block Repeat Offenders
If you’re getting calls regularly from the same few numbers, consider blocking them. “Most cellphone providers allow you to block an incoming number,” Lavelle says. “They work by blocking them, alerting you to a possible robocall, or forwarding suspicious calls to voicemail.”
Try Services Such as Nomorobo
One of the most reliable third-party options, according to Lavelle, is a service called Nomorobo. “It’s a free service available through most phone service providers and is designed to block robocalls and telemarketers,” he says. “While it may not prevent all robocalls from getting through, you are able to identify those calls as your phone will only ring once and the call is then rejected.”
Set Up the Anonymous Call Rejection Option
Many scammers, as well as telemarketers who are more annoying than predatory, don’t show up on caller ID. Calls from these numbers are the ones you want to eliminate almost entirely, which you can if your phone company offers anonymous call rejection. “Call your phone provider to find out if this option is available for your landline,” Lavelle says. “It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information, a tactic of telemarketers.”
Article by Andrew Lisa for cheapism©
Source: Scammers are targeting your phone. Here’s what to watch for (msn.com)