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Get Informed - Protect Yourself from Phone Scams and Robocalls

Having the right information at your disposal can mean a world of difference when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from phone scams and robocalls.

Luckily, many scams get reported, and you can get all the information you need in one place so that you can protect yourself the right way.

We always say that the best solution is to hang up, use your trusted reverse phone lookup, and check the number. You will immediately know who is calling and if you need to call back or report them.

However, to make it easier for you to figure out the scammers, we have collected some of the most common scams as well as robocall tactics.

So, let's start!

Scams to look out for

Cramming and slamming scams

According to the National Fraud Information Center- "Cramming" is a popular scam. Cramming is when telephone customers are charged for services they've never ordered or received. Also common is "slamming" - when customers have their telephone service switched to a new carrier without their permission.

How to protect yourself?

Read your phone bill carefully every month. Look for unfamiliar company names, logos, or charges for features or services you don't understand or remember ordering. Call your carrier or the numbers associated with the charge and ask for an explanation.

The "grandparent scam."

A grandparent's love for their grandchildren is immeasurable, and sadly that is what the scammers are counting on. This is truly one of the most despicable telephone scams currently in existence. Not only does it target the elderly, but it does so in a really gruesome way.

The scam itself has a fairly straightforward plot; the person on the other line will pretend to be the grandson or granddaughter of the older victim. They'll then concoct a story ending with a request for immediate financial assistance. Often, tricked seniors will end up sending money via wire transfer to the scammers as a result. That is such emotional abuse, not to mention a very serious crime.

How to protect yourself?

Talk with your elderly about this. Explain that in case you are truly in dire straits, you will use a specific code word so that they know it is really you and not someone pretending to be you. Advise them to hang up the phone and call either their children or grandchildren to verify the situation. Under no circumstances should they send money.

The DHS OIG Hotline scam

This particular scam deals with the U.S. government. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has had to issue a fraud alert to warn citizens that the DHS OIG Hotline phone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam. This one does not discriminate and targets individuals in all parts of the US.

How to protect yourself?

By educating yourself. The DHS OIG does not use its hotline number to make outgoing calls it is just for receiving information. So, if you get the call from this particular number, you can immediately define it as fake.So just report it and blacklist it.

The "Can you hear me" phone scam

So, what are "Can you hear me" phone scams are. The logic behind them is very straightforward - they need your voice recording. Scammers are calling victims, hoping to get them to say the word "yes" during the conversation that's being recorded. Then they use the recording to authorize unwanted charges on your utility or credit card account.

How to protect yourself?

The safest way out of it is to just hand up and ignore, do not answer any questions. You should also report the incident to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker and to the FCC Consumer Help Center.

Time for some protective measures

With new scams coming up almost daily, it is high time you get some protective maneuvers in place so that there is no danger of getting scammed out of your money or personal information.

First of all - Take Your Time -Scammers often try to create a false deadline. If you feel pressured to make a decision, hang up. You've spent a lifetime earning your money. You deserve a little time to choose how to spend it.

The government is doing its best to come ou with a more permanent and encompassing way to protect its citizens, but for now, the old fashion way I still the safest and the most secure.

So, number one, if you are receiving a blocked call, text your phone provider to unblock it for a very small fee. In some countries, providers are required to provide a call line identification restriction (CLIR) to all their subscribers. This means that caller ID hiding/withholding is allowed to anyone who activates such an option in their phone or service. For the US, the procedure is as follows if it is a blocked number, you can use*57 or *69 to get the information you need on the caller and especially in the case of *57 to notify the authorities on the situation. So *69 will send the message to your provider that you need to know who is calling you, and you will get the information on the number and the owner quite quickly.

Of course, in case you see the number, just hang up, copy it, and input the digits into a reveres phone lookup search. You will get all the essential data on the caller and that will help you make an educated decision.

Finally - Be Part of the Solution - The early warning system for the FTC is every one of us. If you've received a call, mailing, or email you think might be from a scammer, report the incident to the FTC by calling its consumer hotline at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

We hope that this article helps you make better decisions when it comes to protecting your family and your data from potential scammers.

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