If you have received a phone call that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Or have you ever received a phone call from a collections centre informing you that you still owe over $500 because of a missed bill? Or a deputy telling you that you missed jury duty and that you will have to pay a hefty fine immediately or face arrest? How are you supposed to know if it’s a legitimate call or a phone scam? Scammers try to terrify you with startling news and threats. Also, legitimate companies and government agencies will never call you directly. Scammers also typically play the numbers game – they ring hundreds or thousands of people a day until they eventually land on the right person. Perhaps you do have something in collections, or really have avoided paying a large tax bill or entered a sweepstakes for a three-day Caribbean cruise and are expecting a call. In that case, you just might give them what they’re after.
Here are some tips to be able to spot a phone scammer before its too late:
1. Unknown Phone Number – If you don’t recognize the number or aren’t able to google the number, there is probably a reason why. A lot of scammers also block their number, so be cautious of this as well.
2. Delayed Greeter – If you answer the unverified phone call, but the person on the other end doesn’t respond right away, it is probably because they are using an automatic dialer.
3. Identification – If the person calling you tells you to provide personal data so the conversation can continue – especially your name, Social Insurance number, address and account numbers – they are most likely trying to scam you. The person is calling you, so they should know who they are talking to.
4. Act Fast – Most of the time, scammers try to trick you quickly by making you act fast on a money transfer or giving them personal information. If the claim is legitimate, you should have time to question it.
5. Stay Alert – Before giving any personal or financial information over the phone, check out the company’s credentials — ask the person to mail you information,, take a look at the company’s website and ask for references.
Unfortunately, older people are becoming prime targets for phone scams. Scammers target the elderly, as they might be lonely, willing to listen, and more trusting than younger individuals. Many fraud schemes against the elderly take place over the telephone, door-to-door, or online and newspaper advertisements. Telephone scams are among the most common that target seniors, as thieves know that older adults are generally more willing to speak over the phone than younger adults.
If you are unsure about a phone call and think it might be a scam, hang up the phone immediately and don’t engage with the caller. Having a conversation only proves that your number is attached to a live person. You will most likely be bombarded with more calls in the future , hoping to fall for another scam. File a claim ASAP within your region. Having a claim on a certain phone number might help someone else in the future.