Phone scams come in many forms, such as technical support, fake charity, lottery, health insurance, website password request, and family members in peril.
Phone scams have been around for ages. And with time, they have grown too. A recent report by the Federal Trade Commission indicates receiving about 1.4 million scam complaints in the first four months of 2021. When contacted, nearly 2 out of every 5 cases, the telephone was how swindlers found their way in to cheat people.
Once the phone scammers got people on the line, they used false promises, threats, aggressive sales pitches to pry on personal information they could use to steal money or identity.
Timothy Benson, the chief analyst at Cyber-Forensics.net, a cyber forensics service for online scam victims, says, “it’s easy to understand why phone scammers love to dial-up. In the past 12 months, Americans lost $29.8 billion to phone scams-with average financial loss jumping up by 43%.”
Account recovery specialist Peter Thompson states further: “technology has made illegal work easy. With shady operators and auto-dialers, robocalls have exploded in numbers. Readily available tricking tools can confuse caller IDs and spoof corporate numbers or customer care numbers.
Warning signs of a phone scam:
Phone scams may come in many shapes. Scammers can pose as government officials, charity organizations, tech experts, fundraisers, and financial companies. But one thing remains common across all their forms; phone scams tend to convince listeners to pay in specific ways. Here is a look at how to recognize them:
- Lucrative Prize: Phone scammers always keep a lucrative prize at the end to lure victims. They will attempt to create a fake scenario to portray the person at the other end of the call has a lot to win. They will somehow convince the listener to provide personal information or pay compensation to win the prize.
- Scare tactics: Tricksters might pretend to be from law enforcement agencies and threaten victims to arrest the targets, put a fine on them, or have them deported if they don’t pay the asked amount. But this is just one of the scare tactics that the phone scammers use to get the victims to pay hastily. Additionally, genuine law enforcement agencies never call and threaten citizens.
In March 2022, a 56-year-old Raymond resident went through a traumatic experience when he accidentally sent $38,000 to a scammer on the phone.
The victim received a call from someone who pretended to be an employee with a federal government agency. As informed by police, the scammer told the victim that he worked with the U.S. Department of Social Security and was trying to protect the potential target’s account from being seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The scammer on the phone convinced his target to withdraw $38,000 and put the amount into Bitcoin. The victim ended up sending the amount in a bitcoin account provided by the scammer.
This is a lesson for millions of users who communicate using their phones every day. Experts suggest “be patient when someone calls unexpectedly saying they want to help but instead start to threaten.”
- Sense of urgency: Most legit businesses give time to customers to think over an offer before they can commit. Thus, it is advised, “never to take action under pressure.”
- Scammers may ask for money through gift cards: Gift cards are an excellent way for phone scammers not to get caught in legal matters. And it’s often hard to track the money sent through wire transfers, putting money on someone’s gift cards, prepaid cash, or through money transfer apps.
- Asking sensitive information: Never share sensitive information like social security numbers, phone numbers, email ids connected with bank accounts to someone who calls out of the blue.
What to do If Paid Money to a Phone Scammer?
There are multiple ways a victim may have sent money to scammers. And each channel usually follows a different procedure for getting the money back. If the victims lack proper knowledge, they may also hire credible fund recovery companies.
- When paid through credit//debit card: Consumers can apply for a stop transaction by contacting the credit/debit card company. They may also call the bank immediately. The consumers may be asked to provide the details of the scams and need “chargeback” to reverse the charges.
- Contact the card-issuing company right away when paid amount through gift cards, cash reload cards, or prepaid cards. Tell the company how the scammer took the money? They may be able to refund the amount. The sooner the victim acts, the better are the chances they can apply for fund recovery services.
- When money is paid through wire transfers: Call the company immediately and report the scam to federal agencies, local police departments, or cyber cells.
- When money is paid through money transfer apps: Contact the money transfer app company linked with a credit card/ debit card. And also, call the credit card company.
- When money is paid using remote access: There are chances that scammers may have convinced the targets to share their computer screens using remote desktop apps. If that happens, unplug the computer from the network. Run a scan quickly and delete anything that identifies as a problem.
- Contact Fund Recovery Companies: If the victims have lost money and are looking to retrieve their lost funds, they should call fund recovery companies to streamline their efforts with the victims’ requirements. A good name in the field is Cyber-Forensics.net.
Cyber-Forensics.net is committed to providing the most accurate tracing service for victims of online scams. Cyber-Forensics.net empowers and simplifies the process of tracking down the cyber-criminals and assists in recovering the funds and creating an atmosphere for a negotiated settlement. For more information, please visit http://cyber-forensics.net/.