Phone Scam

Recognize and respond to phone scammers.

What is a “Phone Scam?”

A phone scam, also known as phone fraud, is when a stranger calls you in an attempt to get money or personal information from you by creating a fake scenario and lying about their real identity and intentions.

How to Recognize a Phone Scammer

Sometimes phone scammers can be immediately identified, but other times the story they create is convincing enough that it takes asking them several smart follow-up questions to call their bluff and determine they aren’t the person who they claim to be.

Top Tips to Avoid Being the Victim of a Phone Fraud

  1. Never give your credit card number or other banking information over the phone, unless you initiated the phone call.
  2. Never give your social security number or other sensitive information over the phone, unless you initiated the phone call.
  3. If you’re unsure of someone’s authenticity, ask them to call you back at a later date so you have time to research and confirm their identity. If you receive a random call from someone claiming to be a representative of your banking establishment, ask them to call back the next day. Then call your real bank and ask them if the caller’s inquiries are legitimate or an impersonator. Your bank should be able to tell you if it’s a scam call or if the call came from one of their real employees. And a real employee won’t mind calling back the next day.
  4. Ask them for their information and ask them if you can call them back. Many scammers won’t give you their phone number or other information.
  5. Ask the caller qualifying questions. If the scam caller is telling you that you won a free vacation, ask them what first and last name and complete home address the prize was registered under. Those are basic pieces of information that most people would have to include on a prize entry form, if it’s a legitimate operation. Ask the caller to give you very basic pieces of non-confidential information that a real lottery or raffle operation would most likely have on file. If the caller doesn’t know, then definitely don’t continue the phone call.
  6. Never antagonize a phone scammer. It may seem like it would be poetic justice to waste a scammer’s time, or directly call them out and scold them for their unethical behavior. This can be extremely dangerous, with real life consequences. Scammers are unscrupulous criminals, and many are not above exacting revenge on people that irritate or embarrass them. As soon as you are convinced the call is a scam, end the conversation as quickly and amiably as possible.
© 2024 Matanuska Telecom Association. All Rights Reserved. Legal.