Telephone Scams

Recognizing a Scam

Reputable companies do not make unsolicited phone calls. Multiple reports of telephone scams reach the TIPD every month. If you get an unexpected phone call, even if they seem to be calling from a company that you normally do business with, start out with a healthy dose of skepticism! Do not, under any circumstances, give the caller any of your confidential information! If they called you, they should have all the information about you already. They do not need you to tell them your name, your phone number, or any identifying information. If you feel the call is legitimate, and they insist on more information before proceeding, ask for their phone number so you can call them back - and then only call them if the number they gave you matches the phone number you already have for that business! Seemingly harmless information, like the security cues you use for your online access, can be pieced together by phone scammers who may ultimately steal your bank account or your identity!

Never send cash in order to get more cash in return. That simply will not happen! Signing up for an ongoing service that you might even like to have can lead to heartache, as the most disreputable companies will simply steal your credit card number and spend your money. The least disreputable ones may deliver a service that does not meet your expectations, but you may find it impossible to cancel! There are as many online and telephone scams in play as the lively imaginations of the scammers can create. Do not part with your private information or your hard-earned cash because someone pressures you to do so!

In particular, if someone asks you to give them money now in exchange for more money later, it is most certainly a scam! Don't do it. At least talk it over with someone else before parting with your cash!

Being Assured You're Not a Victim

To make sure you haven’t fallen victim to a scam, it is important to check your bank, credit, and billing statements every month. Even a small charge that you don’t recognize could be a test by a criminal before using your credit card or banking information prior to making a major purchase. While banks and credit card companies offer some fraud protection, it is only for a limited time after you receive a statement. If you don’t call to report a problem right away, you could be liable!

The Federal Trade Commission has detailed advice about detecting and avoiding telephone scams. Please take a few minutes to review this information now and possibly save yourself a lot of time, money, and grief later!