With such a heavy reliance on technology, scammers thrive on the vulnerability of their targets. Contacting individuals by telephone has become a popular method of fraud, especially on unsuspecting victims. Trying to avoid these fraudulent calls isn’t always possible but safeguarding yourself against their tactics can help.
Here’s how to protect yourself from phone scams:
Always validate the accounts and information
One of the fastest ways to confirm whether a phone call is genuine or malicious is through a website like CheckPeople.com. Many scam artists will purchase a phone number list from the dark web, hoping to secure account information from a generalized profile.
For some, these profiles may not have an account with the financial institution they claim to be from (but trying to get access if you do). For other scammers, contacting unsuspecting people and claiming an account was opened in their name is an easy target. Before confirming anything on a phone call, investigate your accounts and financial information with a credit check. Any new accounts or current financial status will be posted to the report.
Never give personal information over the phone
When someone contacts you and asks to validate your information, offer to call them back at a time convenient for you. If they offer to give you a direct callback number, politely decline and indicate that you already have the information in your file. Before returning the call, visit the company website or check the back of your card for the telephone number.
If you are met with resistance or urgency, simply hang up the phone and block the number. Although some matters are time-sensitive, a reputable finance company isn’t going to pressure you into disclosing personal details.
Understand the access they’re requiring
Before you decide to give an unsolicited caller access to your computer, consider the validity of the call. Major well-known brands are not going to contact you wanting remote access to your computer or laptop. The same holds for any anti-virus company.
Major brands are more inclined to send you a personalized email if your subscription is expiring and would never demand access to your computer database. If someone contacts you asking for remote control of your computer, hang up the phone immediately.
Remember Arrest Warrants aren’t Threatened over the phone
As more people become educated in online and phone scams, a new tactic has emerged. Fear and scare tactics have become more prominent as society becomes more educated in telephone scams. The shift to scare tactics includes any caller threatening tax, criminal, or financial action against you.
While you may receive correspondence from these places if an issue arises, they will never threaten jail time if you don’t pay a set fine. This is especially true if the requested payment is by credit card or gift card balances.
Always Review a Website’s Privacy Policies
Before completing an online application or registration, it’s always a good idea to review the site’s privacy policies – especially if you’re disclosing personal information. This will disclose how the company is going to use your details and whether they intend to share or sell data to other companies.
If a company calls you about your account, confirm whether the website has indicated telephone contact. Many platforms have preferences for communication (mail, email, or phone). If you’ve selected an email, you shouldn’t be contacted by telephone for any solicitation, account concern, or business-related contact.
Remember, it’s easier to prevent than recover
When it comes to telephone scams, it’s easier to prevent fraud than it is recovering from it. Always make sure to limit personal information given out over the phone. Never give credit card numbers, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, secret answers, or pins to any individual over the telephone. A business will never ask you for confirmation of your account using complete credit card numbers or pin for security reasons.