Phone scams have become an unfortunate norm in our society. Thousands of Americans find themselves falling victim to these vultures who have created a profession out of scamming individuals. In an elaborate scheme, now dubbed the ‘Kings of Scam’, Sahil Patel ran a fraud and extortion ring out of India that claimed many U.S. victims for over 15 years, swindling a total of around $1.2M of U.S. tax payer money. Recent stories like this are cause to shine even more light on the importance of guarding yourself against scammers.
Thankfully, one of these crooks has been caught— but there are many more who are still in operation. Because of this, we knew we had to inform our listeners and readers of how to avoid all types of scams that are waiting to take your hard earned money.
So how can you prevent yourself from being a victim?
Hang Up and Call Back
Rarely will someone from your bank, credit card company or other financial institution reach out to obtain important, personal information. If someone calls claiming to be from one of these entities, consider it an immediate red flag. Scammers do this to obtain missing pieces of the puzzle used to hack into your accounts or steal your identity. With sensitive information, they can take control of your finances. The worst part? You gave it to them!
If ever you find yourself receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be from your financial institution, do one simple thing: hang up. The objective with this is to ensure that this person really is who they say they are. After hanging up, call the number of company in which they claimed to be associated with. If they really are legitimate, the company will have a record that includes why they’re contacting you and have the ability to find the individual who reached out. This way, you know you are speaking with the right person.
Don’t Click on the Link
If you have an email account, you have gotten an email from a scammer. In fact, you have gotten a lot of emails from scammers. These individuals have become so sophisticated in how they operate that their scams will look identical to your bank or credit card company. One common method used by scammers is to reach you via an email that includes a link to their website. This email will make you believe that you have important notifications regarding your account; So important that your immediate attention is needed in order to verify that you are the account holder.
If you do receive an email that looks legitimate, do your own investigating. Before clicking on any link that they provide you, visit the company’s official website where you typically manage your account. Your bank or credit card company should have a notification center like the one you can find here. This helps communicate all of your account activity with you. If you do not have a notification or they do not provide this service, call the customer service hotline and notify them of the suspicious email you received.