I don’t know how you feel but I feel like the phone scammers are getting more creative and their phone calls are out of control. One day, it is the warranty center calling me to tell me my car warranty is about to expire and the next day, I learn that my social security number will be cancelled due to fraudulent activity.
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website, the most common scams are:
- Social Security scams: this is where the caller tries to get your social security number or money.
- Phone scams: this is when the caller pretends to be law enforcement threatening to arrest you if a debt is not paid right away; or the caller pretends to be a relative or someone you trust in need of immediate financial help.
- Phishing scams: this is when the scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving out your personal information or bank account numbers.
- Unemployment Benefits Scams: this is when imposters file claims using someone else’s personal information such as date of birth and social security number.
Even though anyone can fall victim of a scam, when it comes to older consumers, some scams are specifically designed to target this most vulnerable demographic. One such scam is the Medicare scam. The Medicare scam involves a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative from Medicare who needs your social security number or bank information to ensure you get a new benefits card. An alternate version of this scam is calling to offer free or low-cost medical equipment in exchange for your identifying information. Despite the FTC doing its best to stop these scams, the scammers find new ways to continue their bad acts and will continue with their scams, unless we work together to stop them.
If you or someone you know is receiving suspicious calls asking for personal information, your best defense is to ignore the call and hang up. If it is your cell phone that is getting bombarded with unwanted calls and text messages, block the unwanted number. But whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances give out your social security number (not even the last four digits) to an unknown person over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call. Remember, legitimate Government agencies do not call you. Before you compromise your information, talk to family and friends and report any suspicious activity to the FTC.
For more information and resources visit www.ftc.gov. Scammers and companies who might be involved in fraudulent activity can be reported online at reportfraud.ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357.