Phone Scams to Watch Out For
It seems like every year, there is another scam or two out there. Here are a few to be aware of. Share this with others and be sure to warn any seniors that might be targeted.
1. Bank Calls: Someone calls saying they are from the bank and that there has been some unauthorized activity on their account. All they need is “verify some information” to clear it up.
2. Medicare or Social Security: A caller says that they have to get something fixed in their computer so they need some information or they will not have Medicare or their Social Security checks will not be sent.
3. Hotel Scam: The phone in a hotel or motel room is called by what sounds like the front desk. They claim there is a problem with the computer system and that they have to manually reprocess all of the credit cards, or something similar. If you ever get a call from someone saying they are the front desk, hang up and call back yourself.
4. Credit Card Rate Reduction. This is the actual message you hear:
“Hi, this is Rachel from Card Services calling about your credit card account. It appears that you are now eligible for a significantly lower interest rate on your account. However, this offer is about to expire, so please press 1 now to be transferred to a live representative who can assist you in securing your lower interest rate.”
5. Fake Collectors: They want to collect on a debt your grandchild (supposedly) failed to pay. They ask you to wire money, send a prepaid card or give your credit card number – immediately. And if you won’t – or can’t – pay? That’s when the threats begin: “Your grandchild will be arrested.” “He’ll lose his job.” “We’ll suspend her driver’s license.” Unless you co-signed a loan, you’re never responsible for someone else’s debt. In fact, debt collectors can’t legally tell you that someone – anyone – else even has a debt. Don’t be rushed into sending money. Don’t verify any personal or financial information. And hang up if the caller threatens you.
6. Hijacking: You get a call saying someone has been kidnapped and you cannot call his or her cell phone to verify they are okay. The caller will claim that your loved one owes some money and are being held and if you wire just $2,000 or whatever, they can go free, and if not, they will be tortured. If you call your loved one, they are often surprised to learn that they are supposedly being held.
Hang up on these people and ask for help. Report these to the credit card companies and the authorities as appropriate.