What Are Some Phone Scams?


Quick Answer

Phone scams often use exaggerated or fake prizes to bait listeners, states the Federal Trade Commission. Common phrases are "You've been specially selected (for this offer)" or "You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product." Pressuring tactics are not uncommon as well.

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Full Answer

Scammers offer travel packages, loans, shady investment opportunities or urgent requests for disaster relief to convince people to give up their credit card information, warns the FTC. Free trial offers and foreign lotteries also feature prominently, as do offers for extended car warranties that ultimately prove worthless.

Scammers do not discriminate based on race, gender, income or any other factor, but the FTC also cautions that certain groups, such as the elderly, are more at risk than others. In this case, the elderly provide more vulnerable targets to scammers because they often live alone, are less inclined to demand evidence or hang up, or have a nest egg that scammers are seeking to exploit.

To prevent scammers from taking personal information, the FTC suggests refusing to give out credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and checking account numbers over the phone, even if the caller phrases the request as a confirmation rather than an inquiry. Cash and money orders should never be sent to anyone because they cannot be recovered through an investigation.

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