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Don't Get Caught by These Phone Scams!

We lead busy lives. In the hustle and bustle of each day, we use our phones to keep in touch with family and friends, make appointments, gather information, and much more. Scammers hope to take advantage of this to steal our money and/or identity. There are many ways scammers use our phones both old and new.

Here are just a few of the many phone scams to watch for:

  • Dialing the wrong toll-free number. Fraudsters are buying toll-free numbers that are typically one digit different from legitimate toll-free numbers such as legitimate companies and government agencies. In some instances, the difference is in the area code. Avoid this scam by checking the phone number before you place the call. This article from AARP provides more details.

  • Jury duty scam. In this scam, the caller says that you didn't show up for jury duty and you will be arrested. But if you verify your personal information, provide a credit card number, or a prepaid card number, then the problem will be resolved. Hang up on this call. Courts don't call about missed jury duty or asked for personal information over the phone. This article from Consumer Reports provides more details.

  • Missed call scam. This scam has been around quite a while but it is still flourishing. It works like this. Your phone rings just once, or just enough for a missed call message to appear. The number looks like a legitimate U.S. phone number but is an international number. When you call the number back you may end up with a large bill comprised of per-minute charges and international rates. Avoid this scam by not returning any missed calls from unknown callers. This article from the FTC has more details.

  • Robocall scams. No telephone number is safe from robocalls. While we may have given permission for some of these calls such as appointment reminders, many are telemarketing calls or scams. To avoid these scams, just hang up on a robocall. Consumers Union has some tips for blocking robocalls as part of their End RoboCalls campaign. This article from AARP describes some options for blocking unwanted phone calls.

The following articles describe more phone scams and provide tips for avoiding them.