How to Protect Yourself from the Most Common Types of Phone Scams

Posted March 16, 2021 by in Lifestyle

At least several times a month, everyone gets phone calls from unknown numbers

And 99% of the time it is a scam. Whatever they might try to sell or persuade you with, all scammer’s main goal is to get money from you no matter what.  They can pretend to be someone you know or even government officials.  The pretense of being from the government is increasing.  These scams can be through phone calls from what seems like real people, or sometimes from robots known as robocalls, but also through text messages. No matter how many times you block a number, they always keep coming back under different forms and not necessarily from the same scammer.

They now use numbers that look like they are from your area, or from actual government sites.  The calls have become highly developed and synchronized and blocking them does no good as they are not real numbers.  

woman with braids using her iPhone outside.

While most scams happen on the phone, there are more than one type of scam.

The most common unwanted phone calls for people who own a car occur from scam companies trying to sell you services you do not need, like an extended car warranty. These scammers pose as a legitimate warranty company and tell you that your car has a warranty about to expire, a warranty that you might not even have if you have an older car or you simply just bought a used car that had just a limited warranty from the dealer and nothing more.

If they do manage to trick you it will all be just a waste of money because your car might be perfectly fine for a long time and if it does malfunction, they will find reasons not to fulfill their part of the deal, so you are better off without it in the first place.

Some scammers are more persuasive by using a technique that scares you into doing what they want you to do. These types of scams are usually  not very effective because they do not get your attention a lot if you think logically and know what kind of warranty you have and if you still have it or not.  The “free” trial scams go together with car insurance scams.

In that case, you are offered a product to try for “free” and if you are indeed interested in it and go along with giving your credit or debit card information, you end up paying for products or services even though you are in the “trial” period.  Cancelling your subscription is also impossible. 

The “wow” effect scam!

Deep down, we all have a desire of achieving success and most of the time that means having loads of money. That is what this kind of scams are based on and they are done mostly by robocalls. You get a phone call where you are the “winner” who happened to be chosen randomly and that you won the lottery or a prize. That will make you so happy and excited that instead of thinking about the situation you start thinking about what you will do with all that money or the prize. But there is no prize, or money and certainly no lottery or other type of contest.  And if you think about it logically, have you even played anything? Have you subscribed to a contest or did you participate in one? Probably not or maybe you do not remember.  But one thing is consistent!  In order to collect the prize, you must pay a fee to collect your winnings.  This is how the scammers make their money.  

Another type of scam is called “panic porn.”

When scared, most people act fast on instinct without thinking things through.  A lot of these types of scams use the government services as a reason to scare you into thinking you have something to pay.

More likely though, the scammer will pretend to be a collection agency or a real subscription service you use and threaten to cut off your services.  Utility company scammers use the panic porn strategy routinely. 

Everyone is afraid of the government and utility companies.  Most common imposter scams using panic porn techniques pretend to be a government agency you trust like the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the International Revenue Service (IRS). But the IRS and other governmental services will NEVER call and request an immediate payment and if they do need you to pay for something they will most likely send you a bill or letter through the mail and not ask you to use a credit or debit card or an even more obvious sign of a scam, a gift card or a wire transfer. 

Utility companies are regulated and cannot just cut off your services at a moment’s notice by a phone call.  

What can you do if you are a victim or if you think the call you are receiving is a scam?

The first step is straightforward. Hang up the phone immediately. No matter what the reason is, whether they are trying to sell you a product or a service, if you “won” a prize or if “the government is after you”, none of these are worth your time and worries in the first place. If you see a number that you are not familiar with, simply do not answer it and if you do, don’t panic, just keep in mind that it might be a scam if it sounds too good to be true or you have to pay for something.

If you are in the United States, you can add your number on the National Do Not Call Registry to limit the spam calls you are getting for free. If you are on that list it makes the spammer’s calls illegal. The problem occurs when these calls are from outside the U.S. because the law does not apply. Even if you are on the National Do Not Call Registry, your number can still appear on some people’s search websites and that can be a reason for why you are getting the spam calls in the first place. OneRep has the perfect solution for helping you get rid of scam calls.

While the most common types of scam calls were explained, there are hundreds of other reasons and methods scammers use. To summarize, everything that seems too good to be true or sounds like a threat is most likely a scam.

OneRep also explains on their website the other types of scam calls and all the other things you can do to make sure you can eliminate a lot of scam calls. Using OneRep to locate and scrub your listings from the Internet can also protect from many types of scam calls.