Ways to Deal with Potential Phone Scams

One of the most frustrating situations is getting a phone call on your cell from a strange number that you think may be a scam.  With the increased popularity of mobile phones, these calls are happening much more often. Luckily, there are ways to cope with these unwanted phone calls. The following are some of the ways to figure out if the unknown caller is a scammer.

Reverse Phone Number Lookup Services

Before mobile phones took off in popularity, one of the ways in which callers were able to hide their number when making calls was by pressing *67 before making a call.  On caller ID, the number would show up as restricted. This was one of the ways in which scam artists were able to protect their identity. But nowadays, there are ways to figure out the number of the unknown caller using a free reverse phone lookup service.

By accessing databases full of phone numbers, companies that offer this service are able to check multiple lists of phone numbers almost instantly. This database search allows people to figure out who just called them.  If it is a telemarketer, you can ask to be removed from their call list. It should put an end to the unwanted calls.

dealing with potential phone scams

The IRS Phone Scam

This is one of the most common and alarming scams. With the IRS phone scam, a caller tries to intimidate the person answering the phone into believing that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service. The caller pressures the person into believing that if the outstanding debt isn’t taken care of immediately, then the person receiving the call could face jail time. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammer will leave a message saying to call back at the designated number regarding an outstanding IRS debt.

With these types of scams, the caller’s purpose is to ask for all the relevant personal information to steal someone’s identity. This scam is typically aimed at the elderly who may not be as aware of the scams people try to pull.

The main way to figure out if someone is scamming you in this way is to know how the IRS actually handles outstanding debt. If someone were to really owe the IRS money, there would be some form of correspondence through the mail regarding the debt. The IRS would never force someone into paying money right then and there. If you receive one of these types of calls, the best way to proceed is to hang up immediately and contact the actual Internal Revenue Service.

The Government Grant Scam

This popular scam is frequently reported to the Federal Trade Commission.  Typically, a caller will claim they are from the “Federal Grants Administration,” which doesn’t exist.  They will claim that you have qualified for a government grant that you can use for education or home improvements because you have been a good citizen.  They will claim that there is a small servicing fee you must pay to access the grant funds. They may also request your banking information to deposit the funds into your account, but in reality, they will try to clean out your bank account.  

If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and call the FTC.  If you keep getting these types of calls, you can take it a step further and contact your local police department as well as the FBI.  The police and the federal government do not take these types of scams lightly, and they will work diligently to try and put an end to the scam.

The Takeaway

When receiving a phone call that you think may be a scam the best advice is to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, then most likely it is.  By staying informed of the types of scams people are trying to run, it is possible to protect yourself from being scammed.

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