If you pick up your phone from an unknown number often, chances are, you have been contacted by some type of scam or sales call. It’s easy to hang up when it’s a pre-recorded message, but what do you do when the person on the other line is claiming to be calling from the IRS, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or Medicare? What if they are calling from a well-known charity, such as Make-a-Wish? Your first instinct won’t be to hang up right away, so you might stay on the line to hear what they have to say. It may be harmless to do so, but what do you do when they say that you have a payment due, or asks for your Social Security number? You might feel pressured to give out your information, but always remember that scammers try to get your money in the quickest way possible. No one from the government, a charity organization, or even a tech support company should be calling you first and asking for your payment or any other personal information. In addition, if a caller says that he or she is simply calling to confirm your name and address – hang up immediately. These types of calls can come from a live phone operator or a recorded message to confirm your personal information.
Make sure to visit The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog page to read about the recent scam alerts. The following are a few tips from the FTC blog to keep in mind when you receive unknown phone calls.
- The federal government would contact you by US Mail, not by phone or email first.
- Federal agencies would not ask or demand your personal information over the phone.
- Scammers may threaten you to give up a payment information to pressure you.
- Do not trust a caller who asks for your bank account information or asks to wire money over the phone.
- Free prize or winner? It’s a scam.
- Hang up immediately if someone is calling to “just to confirm” personal information. Just because they recite your name and address, doesn’t mean that they are trustworthy.