Be wary the next time you answer your phone, as phone scams are on the rise. Scammers are finding new and creative ways to defraud consumers
as well as financial institutions, with robodialing helping them increase their efficiency. The phone protection company of Pindrop Security found:
- 30: Percent increase in phone scams since 2013
- 60: Percent of phone scams that involve a caller pretending to from a government agency or financial institution
- 86.2 million: Number of US phone calls that are scams every month
The Spoofing Scam
Spoofing scams involve hijacking a real phone number that shows up on people’s caller ID. Pindrop Security found 33,000 reports of it across the nation. Here scammers can use numbers from the local police department, your bank or any other reputable business to trick you into thinking you’re talking to a legitimate representative.
They can also spoof your number, leaving it as the callback number when they harass the masses. KRDO news reported one woman who was spoofed started receiving death threats within hours.
The Credit Card Rate Reduction Scam
Another major scam is one where callers promise a reduction in your credit card interest rates, as long as you pay an upfront fee. You may also be asked to provide personal information, which can then be used for identity theft. Pindrop found nearly 20 percent of the 26,000 forum and complaint site comments they analyzed involved credit card rate reduction schemes.
The Hit on Financial Institutions
Financial institutions are another hot target, especially banks and credit card companies. Credit card issuers have a three times higher risk of receiving fraud calls than other financial institutions, with a rate of one fraud call out of every 900 calls.
Other Common Scams
Other scams range from callers offering free home security systems to spammy text urging you to call a phone number to see if you won a prize. Unscrupulous callers have also pretended to be from:
- The IRS, demanding a prepaid card for taxes you owe
- Debt collectors linked to payday loan companies, demanding payment for the balance you owe
- Microsoft tech support, claiming you have a virus on your computer that they need remote access to fix
- Auto insurance companies, saying you qualify for a lower rate and can get it by disclosing a batch of personal information
Whether it’s free cruises that require your credit card information for fees and taxes or a magical government grant that landed on your lap but requires “processing fees,” the best bet is to hang up if you ever doubt if the deal is for real.