Ways to Protect Against Phone Scams

By
May 3, 2022

Are you getting a lot of phone calls or text messages from people you don’t know? Often, on the other end of the line is a scammer. And scammers use the internet to make calls from all over the world to steal money or personal information. For many people, scam calls are a source of anxiety or annoyance. To protect yourself, you can take steps to help stop scam calls.

No matter how smart you are, scam artists know how to find your weak spots. And they are really, really good at it. Also, the criminals are persistent. If you answer the phone and talk to them, they may be encouraged to call back. Every year, people report identity theft, bad business practices, and fraud to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In fact, the FTC says that:

  • In 2021, over 2.8 million people reported fraud.
  • One out of four people who reported fraud also lost money.
  • The average loss for scams that begin with a phone call is $1,200.

Most Common Types of Phone Scams

Typically, phone scams prey on people’s fear or generosity. Scam artists have refined their pitch and use made-up numbers to make calls sound legitimate. While there are many different scenarios, the following phone scams are among the most common:

  • Threatening calls from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanding payment and threatening lawsuits or arrest
  • Technical support calls with the caller claiming to have detected an error on your computer
  • Fake appeals from charities or nonprofits after a natural disaster or tragedy
  • Lottery scams saying you have been randomly selected and need to pay taxes on winnings
  • Family members in trouble who need quick payment over the phone
  • Bank fraud calls alerting you about potential bank account fraud
  • Insurance, debt, or healthcare scams offering warranties and debt consolidation or asking for health insurance information confirmation
  • Website password scams requesting identity verification
  • Other urgent requests

To stop scam calls like these, the first thing to do is hang up and don’t interact with the caller. If you are unsure about a call you receive from a business, call that company directly to ask if they requested information. Also, while IRS phone scams sound official, they will not call by phone. Instead, the IRS almost always uses the US Postal System to make first contact. And they never demand money over the phone.

Other Red Flags

Additionally, recognizing other warning signs that the person on the other end of a call or text is a scammer is often the first step to stop scam calls. The scammer may:

  • Pretend they’re from a familiar organization
  • Claim there’s a prize or a problem
  • Pressure you to take action right away
  • Want you to pay a certain way (i.e., gift card, wire transfer, credit card, etc.)

7 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information & Money

The FTC recommends the following tips to avoid and stop scam calls:

  1. Block unwanted texts and calls through your phone company or mobile apps.
  2. Use the National Do Not Call Registry to register your number for free.
  3. If you answer a robocall, hang up immediately.
  4. Screen calls from unknown numbers and don’t answer them.
  5. Never give your financial or personal information over the phone to a request you didn’t expect.
  6. Don’t “act immediately” because legitimate businesses will give you time to provide payment or make a decision.
  7. Even if a message is from a known company and seems real, don’t click on any text links.

Even though anyone is susceptible to falling for a scam, seniors are often targeted because they are trusting. Having a conversation with an older loved one can help prepare them to be on the lookout. And if you receive a suspicious text or call and are unsure about it, talk to a trusted individual to help you evaluate the call’s source.

How to Report an Incident

If you identify a scam or have given money to a scammer, contact the FTC to report the incident. You can file a consumer complaint online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

Also, if your social security number has been compromised, contact the three credit-reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) to request fraud protections on your credit reports.

Talk to an Insurance Pro

How Often Should I Update My Business Insurance Coverage?

By Cell Brokerage | November 15, 2022

Business insurance coverage should change as your business evolves. No matter if your company is moving to a new location, experiencing a burst of growth, or any significant change, you should evaluate your insurance coverage. As needs change, so do the risks. Make a plan to review your business insurance policy at least once a year and every time there’s a significant change. Taking a proactive approach like this can help ensure you have the coverage you need to protect your company in the event of a disaster.

Read More

Why You Should Use An Insurance Broker

By Cell Brokerage | November 1, 2022

A significant challenge when shopping for business insurance is making sense of various coverage options and products. Knowing precisely what will be best for your situation can be overwhelming. Working with an experienced and qualified insurance broker can reduce the confusion and help you make the right policy choice.

Read More

I Started My Own Business. What Insurance Do I Need?

By Cell Brokerage | October 18, 2022

Congratulations on starting your business! Whether in the professional services or consulting industries, retail, manufacturing, or construction, companies need business insurance. And having the right coverage can help protect you from expensive damage and lawsuits.

As a business owner, you have plenty of options.

Read More

Protecting Your Business from Insurance Scams

By Cell Brokerage | October 1, 2022

No matter the size, businesses must be prepared for illegal and frivolous insurance claims from scammers. And it can be hard to identify who may be running an insurance scam, hoping to get some of your hard-earned money or disrupt your business. The person may be an everyday contractor, the friendly voice on the phone, or the sender of an email in your inbox. In disguise, the person is a scammer, hacker, or fraudster.

Read More

Incorporating Insurance Into Your Risk Management Strategy

By Cell Brokerage | September 15, 2022

Risk management is a broad topic that involves taking steps to minimize and control the threats businesses face. Learn how to identify your risks and what you can do for prevention.

Read More

Do I Need Business Interruption Insurance?

By Cell Brokerage | September 1, 2022

Wondering if business interruption insurance is right for you? Find out the coverage benefits to help keep your company running after a major disaster

Read More

Is Renters Insurance Necessary?

By Cell Brokerage | August 4, 2022

A renters insurance policy is meant to cover unexpected events like theft or fire. Whether you lease a home or an apartment, it’s a good idea to have a renters insurance policy to protect your valuables and belongings. But you may be asking, is renters insurance worth it? The short (and long answer) is yes.

Read More

10 Tips to Save on Gas as Fuel Prices Increase

By Cell Brokerage | July 1, 2022

Are you frustrated at the pump with fuel prices? Is the current cost to fill up your vehicle hurting your wallet? If so, saving money on gas is probably a high priority for you in 2022. As auto insurance writers, we know a few things about saving money. Here are some surprising tips on how to save money without shopping around.

Read More

Jackware Cyberattacks Explained

By Cell Brokerage | June 1, 2022

Ransomware incidents entail cybercriminals compromising their victims’ computers or servers with malware and demanding large payments in order to restore the technology (as well as any files or data stored on it).

Read More

Harden Your Cyber Defenses Immediately, White House Warns Private Sector

By Cell Brokerage | April 4, 2022

In a March 21, 2022 statement, President Joe Biden cautioned businesses in the private sector to harden their cyber defenses, reiterating earlier warnings related to potential cyberattacks.

Read More