By, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt
The day does not go by without my phone ringing from another SCAM. The IRS, Apple, auto warranties, insurance, and most recently, Social Security. They are endless and exhausting!
Like many of us, I have stopped picking up calls from unknown phone numbers. If someone needs to contact me, they can leave a message. But, the scammers are getting so sophisticated like using numbers that look local and other tactics.
One of the most common phone scams involves someone calling from the IRS. They say we owe them money and threaten legal action. Don't fall for it! The IRS will NEVER call you. They will initiate their contact through the US Postal Service.
Gift card scams are a recent development. People are asked to pay with gift cards by a caller claiming to be from the IRS, tech support, or a family member in need. Don't fall for it!
Or the scammer is calling to say your insurance or auto warranty is about to lapse. They then proceed to ask the potential victim to provide personal information so they can "renew" the policy. Don't fall for it! Call your insurance representative to confirm all is well.
And the most recent scam, a caller claiming to be from the Social Security Administration claiming your number has suspended. Never give or confirm your Social Security number to anyone. Don't fall for it!
Some scams use a voice recording. Remember, the more you talk, the more likely you will give the crooks the information they can use on their next attempt. Your best line of defense is to hang up, immediately.
If you have lost money or have given out personal information, you are unlikely to get your money back. However, there are steps you can take right away to limit the damage.
- Report scams to Law Enforcement
- Tell your Family and Friends
- Contact your financial institution
- Change your online passwords
- Contact the Social Security Administration
Remember your best line of defense is do not answer the call or hang up immediately.