One of the most annoying things that has been happening to me lately are these endless phone calls I get from scammers. They are posing as tech support help, the IRS, and banks. These scams are getting much more sophisticated as scammers are now utilizing stolen data in an attempt to “accredit” themselves and cause people to let their guard down.
Recently as reported in one of my favorite security blogs, a rather tech savvy individual was almost conned into giving all their bank account info over to a scammer because the call was so convincing. The caller posed as a bank teller asking about his account and some fraudulent charges that had been made. The caller had the target’s address and a few other key pieces of information, and despite the target’s usual skeptical nature he was almost tricked.
This is why it’s more important that ever to educate yourself about popular phone scams and know what to look for. Staying up to date on things like this is crucial to ensuring that you don’t get taken for a ride. And spreading the information is also helpful as not everyone is looking out for these things. The elderly and immigrants are especially susceptible to these scams.
Common Phone Scams:
1.) The IRS Is Going To Arrest You: This one has been making the rounds for a couple years now, and apparently the FBI actually caught the original ringleaders and arrested them. However it was so successful that there are a number of copycat scams making the rounds. Remember – the IRS will not call you and threaten you with police action – that is a fact.
2.) Microsoft Tech Support: Always beware of callers claiming to be tech support telling you that you have a virus. No legitimate tech support company is going to voluntarily call you.
3.) The “Can You Hear Me” Scam: This scam is hell bent on getting a recording of your voice saying yes so that they can make purchases under your name. This is a tough one, so awareness of this scam is key.
4.) Information Verification Scams: These callers will ask you to confirm certain information, usually posing as insurance agents or something similar. They may sometimes have partial information of yours and ask you to fill in the gaps in a way that sort of tricks you into letting your guard down.
Tips On Not Falling For Scams
One rule I have that I encourage everyone else to follow if possible is to NOT answer unknown numbers. Also, if you have to answer unknown numbers, do NOT entertain any unsolicited calls from individuals and companies that you’re not expecting. This is ESPECIALLY true if the person has a foreign accent. (However the accent rule is not set in stone, obviously).
Additionally, keep an eye on the news and perhaps follow a tech blog or two so you can keep tabs on the constantly changing nature of threats and scams, and educate yourself. Knowledge is power in this area, and ignorance of threats is a good way to get conned.