Robocalls stand out as one of the most aggravating innovations of the 21st century. Regrettably, their disruption extends beyond interrupting meals, compelling you to rush to the phone just for the prospect of an extended car warranty offer. These calls, employing sophisticated spoofing techniques and unwavering persistence, possess the potential to fleece unsuspecting victims of substantial sums – hundreds or even thousands of dollars – with just a telephone. Astonishingly, according to Trucaller's data, Americans suffered nearly $30 billion in losses due to phone scams during 2020 alone.
Modern technology has facilitated an unsettling ease and affordability for scammers to unleash a staggering volume of robocalls within mere seconds. Fresh robocall platforms can simultaneously dial up to 5,000 numbers per second, requiring as little as a dollar. Scammers can reap significant profits even if merely a handful of these calls achieve their intended impact on targets.
To safeguard yourself, it's crucial to be well-versed in the landscape of phone scams and equipped with strategies to evade their traps.
How To Avoid Phone Call Scams
While area codes don't inherently indicate whether a call is a scam, some area codes have gained notoriety for being associated with spam, fraud, or robocalls. However, it's important to note that scammers can use any area code to make calls. Here are some area codes that have been known to be associated with a higher volume of spam or fraudulent calls.
Area Codes To Avoid
- 900:While not a traditional area code, 900 numbers are often used for premium-rate services, which can result in expensive charges for the caller.
- 876:This area code is often associated with scams originating from Jamaica. Scammers might claim that the caller has won a prize and needs to pay fees to claim it.
- 202:The 202 area code is often used by scammers impersonating government agencies or officials to gather personal information or demand payment.
- 809: Similar to the 876 area code, this code is associated with scams from the Dominican Republic. Scammers might use tactics to keep you on the line for extended periods, resulting in high charges.
- 473: Calls from this area code might appear domestic, but they can actually be international calls that lead to high charges.
- 284, 649, 809, 876, 868, 473, 441, 649:These are area codes associated with Caribbean islands, and scammers might use them to give a false impression of legitimacy.
- 855, 844, 833, 866:While toll-free area codes, scammers can use these to make calls that appear to be from legitimate organizations.
- 707:This area code has been associated with "one-ring" scams, where scammers call once and hang up, hoping the recipient will call back and incur charges.
Remember that scammers can spoof area codes to make it appear they're calling from a different location. If you receive a call from an unfamiliar area code, it's a good practice only to answer if you're expecting a call from that area. The caller will likely leave a voicemail if it's an important call. If you suspect a call is a scam, it's best to hang up and avoid sharing any personal or financial information.
Robo Scams To Avoid
Robo scams, also known as robocall scams, are deceptive tactics in which automated phone calls, or "robocalls," are used to trick individuals into providing personal or financial information, making payments, or engaging in other fraudulent activities. These scams are carried out using automated calling systems that can deliver pre-recorded messages or connect the recipient to a live scammer.
Scammers pretend to represent legitimate organizations, such as government agencies, banks, tech support, or utility companies. They use threatening or urgent language to coerce the recipient into taking immediate action, often by providing personal information, making payments, or downloading malicious software.
Robocalls claiming to offer health insurance plans, medical devices, or services may be attempts to steal personal information or money.
Scammers impersonate IRS agents and claim the recipient owes back taxes or penalties. They threaten legal action or arrest if immediate payment isn't made.
Social Security Scams:
Similar to IRS scams, scammers claim to be from the Social Security Administration, alleging issues with the recipient's benefits and demanding payment or personal information.
Vacation and Travel Scams:
Unsolicited calls offering free vacations or travel packages often attempt to extract personal information or money for fake travel services.
Robocalls claiming to offer loans, credit repair services, or investment opportunities might be attempts to steal financial information or money.
Tech Support Scams:
Callers claim to be from tech support departments, warning of computer viruses or issues and asking for remote access to the recipient's device or payment for fake services.
Scammers pose as representatives of charitable organizations seeking donations for various causes. They exploit people's goodwill for financial gain.
Callers claim to be law enforcement officers and threaten arrest or legal action unless immediate payment is made for alleged outstanding warrants or fines.
Scammers impersonate utility company representatives, demanding immediate payment to prevent services from being shut off.
Protect Yourself From Phone Call Scams
It's important to note that legitimate organizations typically do not use robocalls to request sensitive information or payments. To protect yourself from robocall scams:
• Don't Answer Unknown Calls: If you receive a call from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail. Legitimate callers will often leave a message.
• Verify Caller Identity: If you're contacted by a government agency, financial institution, or other organization, independently verify the contact information before taking action.
• Avoid Providing Personal Information: Never share personal, financial, or sensitive information over the phone unless you know the caller's legitimacy.
• Register for the Do Not Call List: Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce unsolicited calls from legitimate telemarketers.
• Use Call-Blocking Apps: Consider using call-blocking apps or services that help identify and filter out potential robocalls.
Robocall scams are a prevalent form of fraud, and staying informed and vigilant is essential to avoid falling victim to these deceptive tactics.
Use GladIKnow To Verify Phone Numbers
GladIKnow.com offers a valuable tool to verify phone numbers and protect yourself from potential scams. By utilizing its comprehensive background reports, you can cross-reference phone numbers with associated names, addresses, and other information to ensure the authenticity of callers and avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities. Try it for yourself here.
Don't forget to share this post