Identifying and Reporting Phone Scams

Identifying and Reporting Phone Scams

Shutterstock

Phone scams are some of the most common, and frustrating, scams out there. We’ve all received a robocall or two from someone promising something outlandish, like massive lottery winnings, loan forgiveness, or a free trip.

Some phone scams are even threatening, claiming that a Social Security representative, federal agent, or law enforcement officer wants to talk to us and is asking for a fee. Still others might ask for money for someone in need, only to keep the “charity” funds for themselves.

Read on to learn more about phone scams, the ins and outs of phone scam reporting, and how to avoid more phone scams in the future.

Common Phone Scams

There are a few types of common phone scams. Some are live calls from a real human being, while others are robocalls–pre-recorded voice messages.

Usually, the calls will start with an unlikely promise. The promise could include collecting debts you’re supposedly owed, winning a lottery you never entered, or being granted a huge, unexpected prize.

In other cases, someone will claim to be from law enforcement or a well-known charity, collecting funds to protect you from prosecution or to provide for a good cause.

Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And philanthropic organizations generally don’t call people out of the blue asking for donations, unless that person has shown interest in or contacted their charity in the past.

No one from a legitimate law enforcement agency will ask you for money over the phone.

Reporting Phone Call Scams

Wondering how to report a scam phone number? The first step is not to engage with the scammer call at all. Don’t press “1” or any other number, and don’t speak further with the caller.

Most importantly, never give out your name, credit card number, address, or any other personal information, or you could become a victim of identity theft.

Next, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or go to donotcall.gov to be placed on the National Do Not Call Registry. If scammer calls persist, document them and report them to the FTC.