In these days we have to pay more attention to the victims of phone frauds, which includes the vulnerable seniors. Last week an elderly robocall victim committed suicide after phone scammers have stolen her life-savings.
The number of phone scams has been soaring in the recent years and scammers have been taking advantages of technology to perform endless phone frauds. As stated by the Federal Communications Commission, half of the calls made in the US in 2019 will be spam calls. Revenue lost due to phone frauds in US peaked $83M in the first quarter of 2019, more then 140K reports received in 4 months according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Phone scam is the most common type of frauds referring to FTC and the median of reported fraud loss is $1000.
Robocalls are the most notorious spam calls nowadays. We have little control for this particular type of phone fraud, as it is generated by computers that dial high volume of random phone numbers in a short period of time. But what about other types of spam calls, like Wangiri scam, IRS scam, telemarketing calls, sweepstakes calls……? Why do these scammers call you and where is the leak? There is always something we can do to lower the chances of receiving spam calls! Lets start with protecting our personal information on the internet!
Based on reports from consumers and federal agencies, the Better Business Bureau identified Obamacare as the most used scam method for 2013.
The complexity behind the newly approved Affordable Care Act brought a lot of confusion among Americans, which in turn, opened a lot of doors to scammers and fraudsters as a way to fool citizens into sharing their personal information, and stealing their money.
- Claim that they are connected with federal government
- Inform the target victim that he needs a new insurance card for the Obamacare
- Ask for personal information like bank account number, credit card number, social security, medicare ID
- Charge fees as high as $100 to help people understand the new policies
- Target older people, or those above 65 years old, by falsely claiming that they need to buy a supplemental coverage
tellows also received reports related to this matter.
Liz on the number 8554116569:
I don’t know how to place this number, but I just received a call from it and a pre-recorded message said that they were from America’s Next Generation and then they went on to talk about Obamacare. I don’t know exactly what their agenda is, but I didn’t wait to figure it out. After a minute or so I hung up because whatever they were trying to sell me (literally or metaphorically) I wasn’t going to buy!
Lois on the same number said:
Recently received a call from this number. It was a political call, although I’m not quite sure what kind of political movement or group they belong to. An automated message identified the caller as America’s Next Generarion (even though I never heard of the group nor am I aware of what I ever did to “deserve” these kind of calls). They just kept talking about Obama care.
BBB provided the following tips and advice on protecting yourself from con artists:
- Never pay upfront fees. If someone asks for money to help you shop for insurance, it’s a sure sign they’re not legitimate. Real navigators provide information about the ACA for free.
- Hang up the phone. Don’t press any buttons or return any voicemails, period.
- Never click any links provided in e-mails. Even if it appears to be a legitimate link from a trustworthy source, type in the URL yourself.
- Be suspicious of anyone claiming to represent the government. Government agencies typically communicate only by mail.
- Don’t provide personal information such as your Social Security or bank account numbers. If you do give out such information, immediately inform your banks and credit card providers.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Phone numbers and organization names can be faked.
- Go to www.healthcare.gov. It’s the official shopping place for qualified health plans.
- Report scams or suspicious activity. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
- If you think your identity’s been stolen, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT.
This week’s batch all want your card details if the truth be told. Fight back by quite simply not giving them up. Here are some sneaky new adversaries on the scene to look out for…
A new entrant to the IRS scam arena (someone stop these guys already!) is 5303802641. Highly active within the last week, they’ve got a tellows score of 7 (possibly due to one misunderstanding of the scoring system – remember, 1 means TRUSTWORTHY!) and have no respect for public holidays!
Dan’s got his detective hat on…
This dumb scammer calls me on Thanksgiving day pretending to be an IRS lawyer claiming that I have an ‘Tax deficiency’ issue. What kind of idiot will believe an IRS lawyer works on Thanksgiving day and will call his ‘client’??
Very true. People calling you out of the blue about a ‘legal issue’ is more often than not quite fishy!
On the other end of the credibility spectrum is the gentleman (note the irony) calling from 3362286986. This is a guy who ostensibly really takes offence to non-credit-card-owners; he really flies off the handle if you don’t give him the answer he’s looking for. We’re not sure if he’s working ‘freelance’ or is part of a larger agency but he intersperses his survey questions with other, rather inappropriate enquiries.
Darron indignantly tell us about his experience…
I finally picked up from this number and some guy wouldn’t tell me who or where he was calling from. then I asked to be taken off his calling list and was then called several names and asked to give him a kiss. he said are you drunk? he really irritated me do not listen to him!!!!!
Cold-call flirting is a new one on us but this is exactly what this guy is doing… Albeit ineptly. And angrily.
Check out the link above for a few more entertaining stories.
With a tellows score of 8, 8608227440 is offering ‘better credit card rates’ and has absolutely no explanation of how it’s doing so.
Luckily, Aurora recognised the call for what it was…
The caller talked about better interest for my credit card and wanted to have my credit card number…I left her waiting until she hung up. As if anybody would fall for that kind of scam
…well someone must be if they’re still doing it! If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it weekly, DON’T give your card details out willy-nilly!
Keep your heads up, block those numbers and report them on tellows and we’ll be back with more nerve-grating numbers next week!
Your tellows team
Greetings from tellows HQ!
The seasons may change but nuisance callers are still a nuisance. Here are our picks of the week.
The first batch of crooks in our line-up are calling from 3605391729 posing as Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU), informing you that your card has been ‘limited’ (whatever that means). They don’t send you your whole card number via text, they just include the first four digits, which they are able to guess due to your neighbourhood, apparently. The plan then seems to be that you call back and confirm those all-important card details!
I got this text message: “WSECU NOTICE: Your CARD (first 4 digits of my debit card #) has been LlMITED. Please call 360-539-1729” ….. so I’m like, this must be genuine, they have my card details! but I spoke with WSECU and apparently they’re ripping off people by using standard debit card prefixes of certain areas. I guess you’re supposed to confirm your card details when you call them back. BE CAREFUL GUYS!!!
The next caller is not so ingenious – just infuriating. 5129553173 has been reported as harassment calls and is taking it to another level. We’ve heard of aggressive telemarketers but user kirkwork reports:
I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MANY TIMES THESE IDIOTS HAVE CALLED ME!! It’s like 20 times in 10 minutes! I swear I’m just going to bury my cell in my backyard!
Burying your cell may seem like a viable solution but we do suggest blocking them first.
Last up are these audacious payday loan sharks on 7146023772 hoping to snap up a couple of gullible fish.
They called me yesterday evening and told me that I´m was being sued for a 2011 Payday Loan. I can´t believe it. They have a lot of information about me (age, adress, name)
Susan N, meanwhile, was told that
APPARENTLY I could only settle this formal financial issue by purchasing a Green Dot card
Remember, with debt collectors, to wait for formal documentation. Keep calm and don’t forward any money until you are absolutely sure of their identity, particularly if they’re asking you for payment via unorthodox methods like Green Dot cards or obscure transfer companies.
That’s it for this week! Keep a sharp eye and have a super week!
Your tellows team