No doubt you have received a call from someone you don’t know who would tell you that you have just won a contest for a free Caribbean cruise or a call that they are from the IRS (or some other government agency) and that money is owed to you. Let us state right from the start that most of these calls are fraudulent. (Regarding the IRS, they will never call you on the phone).
Scammers can call either your home phone or your cell phone and there are many variations of these schemes . The following video below illustrates one of them*.
Let’s break down the components of these calls, so that you can easily identify their tactics:
They Do Not Identify You by Name
Most of the time, the first indication that this is a scam is that the caller will not greet you by name. This is because they only have your phone number and not your name or address. If they do have your name, still be cautious, since more sophisticated groups have the ability to gain that information but not much more.
They Owe You Money
They will tell you that they are from a government agency and that they found money that is owed to you. Red Flag! Anyone you do not know that calls you and tells you that you are owed money is grounds for suspicion.
What is Your Name and Address?
They will proceed to ask you for more information; however, if they were legitimate, wouldn’t they already have this information? Another Red Flag!
Personal Information Inquiry
If you are still on the phone with them, they see that they have acquired your interest and will proceed to persuade you to give them your social security number, birthday or any other type of information that they could use in order to steal your identity. Never give anyone your personal information, unless you personally know who they are! Especially, if they are calling you.
The Contest Scam
You get a call that you are a winner to a contest, but you don’t remember if you entered any contest. The caller will sound enthusiastic and make the call sound very professional. They will then begin to explain what you won (usually a cruise) and go over all the details, possibly keeping you on the phone for 10 minutes or more.
At the end, once you tell them how great that sounds, they will ask you for your credit card so that they can process a small fee that is associated with the cruise. It will usually be around $25.00 – $50.00, but stealing this money is not their primary objective. The fact that you just gave them your credit or debit card is what they are looking for. Before you know it, you are getting bills from places you never been to or from Internet purchases you never made.
The best policy is to ask them from the beginning if they will be asking for any money, or if you actually did enter a contest, take down their information and tell them you will call them back. In the interim, confirm that they are legitimate. This can be done in many ways. One is by Googling the name of the company. Others would be to contact the Better Business Bureau. But if they refuse to give you their information, something is fishy. Tell them you are not interested and hang up.
Stay vigilant when you get calls like this and never give out any personal information when someone calls you!
*Feinlawyer.com and Richard Feinsilver are not affiliated or responsible for the contend of the video displayed on this page. It is used solely for informational purposes only.