How many times have you had to give out your phone number in the past two weeks? You try to protect it but we use it everywhere. Now, put your ‘what if’ hat on and consider the following scenario: it is a quiet Saturday afternoon and your mom gets a phone call telling her she has been selected as a winner for a special prize. Instead of hanging up, she is intrigued. The caller asks for her home address and credit card number to make sure she is the correct winner and she provides it. All of this happens in under a minute and the caller says ‘thank you’ and says they will be in touch. This is a phone scam.
Scammers will try and sound and seem like normal sales representatives. It is your job to be on the lookout and educate your aging loved one on how to be prepared in order to prevent a telemarketing/phone scam from becoming a reality. These scams are real and can easily infiltrate your home. Use the recommendations below to be ready anytime for what could be a harmful scam.
How to Prevent a Telemarketing or Phone Scam From Becoming Reality
The best ways to prevent you or your loved one from becoming the target of a telemarketing scam is to take some preliminary preventative measures and to know how to identify the signs of a scam.
Know How to React to a Phone Scam
If you encounter a phone scam your best option is to hang-up but you need to be ready for the call so you are not caught off guard. You can protect yourself by:
- Protecting Your Phone Number: Be restrictive on giving out your phone number as much as possible. It is hard these days when so many stores and offices require a phone number but remember that it’s okay to ask why the company needs your number. If it is not required don’t provide it.
- Not Giving Into the Time Pressure: Scammers will often push you to give them your private information quickly. If you are in doubt then ask for more information from the caller or ask to call them back. You will be able to quickly assess the situation based on their response.
- Not Paying for a Free Prize or Special Offer: Think about it, why would you have to pay for a prize or special offer? Also, ask how you were selected for this prize and don’t give out your private financial information.
Know What a Telemarketer/Phone Scam Sounds Like
Those calling to steal your information will often make the following requests:
- You have been chosen for a specific offer that requires you to provide personal information (i.e. credit card information, social security numbers, etc.) in order to receive it.
- You are a winner and “the prize is yours,” if you can charge the shipping and handling on your credit card.
- There is a great investment opportunity for you and it is low risk but you must get involved today.
- You are asked to donate to a charity that you have never heard of and you need to donate today (starting with a small sum of money).
Listen for these keywords and phrases if someone you don’t know calls you. Typically, the caller will put a lot of pressure on you to act quickly and to not to ask anyone else for his or her opinion.
You need to remember that scams can come in many different ways. The suggestions and tips above are only common cases and ways to prevent falling for a scam. Use common sense when talking with anyone on the phone if you’re asked to provide personal, financial information.