According to the Dallas based WFAA in 2015, phone scammers have targeted over 300,000 people, a problem so serious that the IRS has developed a dedicated website where calls claiming to be from IRS can be reported. This is because the most common typical scam call comes in the form of fraudsters posing as IRS officials coercing their victims into divulging personal information or making payments that can enable their identity to be stolen.
There are also other styles that these fraudsters use. They may use a robo-call to tell their victims that their debit card or credit card has been locked. In response, an automated message prompts the victims to enter their credit card number and information to unlock their card. This is mostly referred to as ‘vishing’ which is technically phishing attempts via voice messaging system that prompt the victims to divulge private information that makes them susceptible to scam. This said, the following are tips that you could use to protect yourself from phone scams:
BE CALM AND TAKE IT EASY
Scammers want you to be very nervous. They want you to be concerned. Thus, they will formulate their message in such a way that will cause you to get worried. Your nervousness is profitable to them as it drives you into making irrational split seconds decisions. This is why scammers will try to put urgency in their calls since they know they are less likely to be successful if you have time to think about it. You need to stay calm, take it easy and process their demands before acting on them. It is most advisable that you do not respond to any urgent request especially if the phone call is unsolicited.
BUILD A FIREWALL
There are many various methods that can be combined to ensure that you do not receive these scam calls. The first is to register with the Do Not Call Registry. From experience however, the Do Not Call registry is not always efficient. Nevertheless, registering with them will help to eliminate a great percentage of these calls. You may file a complaint with the FCT if you are on the Do Not Call registry and still receive a lot of unsolicited calls. It is also good to report illegal robo-calls to the FCT.
Another option is to download an app (which is mostly free) in order to filter your calls. If you get called too often by the same unknown numbers, you should consider blocking them. These apps make it possible for you to reduce unwanted calls by blocking them, alerting you to the likelihood of the call being a robo-call or by forwarding such a call to voicemail.
The last option is to send any call whose caller ID you do not recognize to voicemail. Most genuine telemarketers will not leave a message. They simply hang up. If there is a telemarketer message in your voicemail, delete it and neglect it.
MANAGE YOUR RESPONSE TO A STRANGE CALL
It is most important that you do not answer a strange number call with ‘yes.’ If you do this, there is the possibility that your voice has been recorded on the other end. They can then use your details to register for a billing service and use your voice, yes to confirm such a transaction. Avoid yes altogether as a response to any question.
If any robo call voice prompt ask you to press 1 or any other number to speak with a live person or activate any service, do not do it. You should be aware that technical support departments will never call you.
KNOW THE SCAMMERS AND CONFIRM THEIR NUMBERS
Despite that you are protecting your phone, you should also try and familiarize yourself with the most popular scams out there. There are websites where you can confirm the originality of the strange numbers that call you claiming to be who they are not. By merely logging into these sites frequently, you can also familiarize yourself with these phone numbers that have taken advantages of others before.
For more information, you can also visit websites such as https://checkup.tel/
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR BILLING HISTORY
At the end of every month, it is important that you go through your bills. Examine them carefully and see if there is any company logo or name that you do not remember making transactions to. Call the return number to confirm the details of such a transaction, and report such cases to the billing company if you are not the one who made the purchases.