Chances are you already receive a spam or scam call, one way or the other, and you may not realise that it was supposed to scam you, but somehow you escape it, all without you recognising it. These scammers are so cunning; you never know that they hit you until it dawns on you after seeing your bank statement or someone else notices it. But somehow, we get to notice some “red flags” with interaction with someone that we never meet before, and more often than not, it is those cellphone or telephone calls that we received by random. So if you think scammers only target some vulnerable sectors of society, you may want to think again.
Who Are Prone to Scams?
According to the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), a national organisation comprising lawyers committed to disability and public benefits law, the unwitting victims are often persons with disabilities and their family members. Consequently, billions of dollars are lost to telephone and internet scams every year. Also vulnerable to these scheming criminals are the elderlies because of their retirement funds, those with student loans who want to be debt-free; or just about anyone just because they are taxpayers or have a simple traffic violation. Moreover, these con artists can think of any means to separate you from your hard-earned money or financial standing by gaining access to your credit card information.
The signs below are the signs that you are in the presence of a scammer. Hence, if you encounter one or a combination of these fraudulent acts below, you are being conned.
1. Unsolicited Calls
These are out-of-the-blue calls from people claiming to work for the government, public utility, and other respectable institutions. Likewise, they claimed that you had been specially selected.
2. A Call From a Charitable Group
This usually happens after a disaster. First, they pretend to be connected to this group asking for donations. Then they request you to “confirm your personal information.” Afterwards, they gained access to your credit card and robbed you on the spot; under the pretence, you helped the needy.
3. Too Good to Be True Pitches
They usually pitched products or services that sound too good to be true. Consequently, they ask for your credit card information, even your OTP.
4. “Limited – Time” Offers
They usually resort to high-pressure sales tactics. For example, they often say it is a limited time offer. This is to pressure you to act immediately and to wrap up the scheme quickly.
5. Uses Scare Tactics
Some extreme cases use threats if you don’t comply. The threat of arrest is common. Here they target those with criminal records and even those who have traffic violations.
Types of Scam
It is not enough to spot scammers at close range; it will be best to see them from a mile away. If you encounter any of the scenarios below, be advised you are being swindled:
• Imposter Scam
As it implies, that the scammers pretend to be someone else. Thus, they usually impersonate authorities like government personnel or even masquerade as family members. They will do everything, all in the effort to defraud.
• Travel Scam
Here is where the scammers get really dubious. They will first lure anyone with a free or low-cost trip somewhere. Then, they will ask for credit card information to avail this trip.
Meanwhile, the timing of which anyone receiving this kind of call can be ominous. Here scammers call up people asking for donations after a disaster struck like a colossal flood, devastating earthquake, and even a disastrous tsunami.
Here, scammers target people with poor credit scores, baiting them to have more loans or access to credit cards, all for a small up-front fee.
This is the classic: “to bait the hook to catch the fish” routine. Scammers will first say it all free, then the next thing they are asking for credit card information is to charge the victim monthly. Never ever will it ever happen.
Now here are some pointers that you must “never” forget when dealing with spam calls.
- Never will the government request payment by credit card, prepaid debit cards and wire transfers.
- Institutions will never push you to decide right away and transfer funds on the spot.
- Never will reputable institutions use odd-looking phone numbers. These institutions like government agencies, charitable groups, and others will use 1300 / 1800 numbers. If your business does not have a toll-free number, consider it.
Moreover, also contemplate using a call recording in your business to track inbound and outbound calls because individuals are not the only ones prone to swindling businesses too.
Also, consider the telephony feature that has missed call notification. This is to receive an email alert in cases of miss calls, it could be an important call or spam call, but this reporting system has the potential to be a saving grace. Never will the courts contact anyone over the phone to settle any court-related matters. It is usually through the mail first, stating the court is asking you to appear on a certain date and time at a specific courtroom or police station.
The rule of thumb here is if you or anyone of your loved ones do not join any promotions or marketing program. Therefore, you suddenly received a call saying you won, you are selected, or someone asks for a donation randomly; chances are you are in the process of being a scam.
Further, these scammers are crafty. They will always look for a loophole in the system, all in the effort to trick anyone. After reading the tips mentioned above, the best way to prevent these spam calls is to hang up.