The reality is that contacting victims by phone is still as popular as ever among scammers. In 2017, it was the most used method for committing fraud, according to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report; a total of 509,142 complaints were launched with the Commission last year.
But, why do scammers continue to use phone calling for scamming people, and is there a way to identify fake calls? For the first part of the question, it’s useful to look at how we perceive calls from advertisers. We have become accustomed to receiving sales calls from legitimate companies. A scammer can take advantage of this fact to get the same response as a genuine company.
So, how can we identify if the offer we’re hearing is real or fake? Fortunately, there are certain patterns that repeat in scam calling. According to the FTC, you should look out for the following:
- You've been specially selected (for this offer).
- You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
- You've won one of five valuable prizes.
- You've won big money in a foreign lottery.
- This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
- You have to make up your mind right away.
- You trust me, right?
- You don't need to check our company with anyone.
- We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.”
These are just some of the ways in which a scammer may communicate with you.
Depending on the nature of the scam, fraudsters may also use aggression, time constraint, and/or authority to make their point. For instance, the IRS warns taxpayers that a scammer might threaten you with an arrest for not paying your dues or ask for credit card information.
These are some pointers to keep in mind for the next time you hear a sales pitch on your phone.