Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phone Scams and How to Protect Yourself

In this day and age you cannot be too cautious with protecting yourself.

With the numerous telemarketing scams circulating around, Datavo wants you to be vigilant. In this article, I will go over some of the most popular phone scams going around. If you or someone you know has been affected by a scam feel free to let us know about it in the comments so we can share your experience.

Make sure to share the information you learn with friends and family so they can be aware and forewarned.

  • Caller ID Spoofing
Scams: Scammers use new technology that allows them to manipulate their Caller ID to show that they are calling from a legitimate company when they are really not any part of the organizations. They try to convince you to give them your personal information, such as credit card or Social Security Numbers. These calls can be made from mobile as well as landlines, and have also been seen through email and blogs. 

Protection: Be very cautious and and guarded about providing personal information over the phone.

  • International Calls
When making an international call you most likely will need to dial 011 (the US international prefix). There are some exceptions such as places in the Caribbean that look like domestic numbers but are actually international calls with international rates. Some examples of these area codes are: 809, 876 and 284.

Scams: You receive a urgent message/text/email that advises you to contact a specific number for more information. They have also been known to have ads in papers or online saying to call them for a quote or a specific consumer item.

Protection: Be very cautious when making calls to numbers you do not know. If any area code is not familiar look it up prior to calling. Blocking 900 calling will not stop you line from dialing an international call so if necessary have your phone company block your phone from making international calls.

  • Slammimg/Cramming
Slamming is a very popular scam where your phone carrier is switched without your permission. Once this is done Cramming is usually seen on the bill as well, where you are charged for services you did not ask for or receive.

Scams: A promotion is sent to you advising you that you won a prize and to contact a specific number. When you call this number you are automatically enrolled into some type of club or program where the charges are added to your phone bill. They have also been known to sign people up using sweepstakes forms that have enrollment acceptance in the fine print that people usually do not read. Telemarketers also call selling Long Distance services for a lower price but fail to tell you this price is only valid for a very short period of time and afterwards your rates are astronomical. 

Protection: Make sure to always read your phone bill carefully and check for any unusual charges. If you receive a bill from a company that you are not familiar with their logo or name call the company and ask for an explanation. Always request that any sales offers from telecom companies be sent to you in writing. Also if you need to check your LD provider you can call 1-700-555-4141.

  • Call Forwarding
Scams: You get a call/text/email requesting that you dial two digits and * or # (for example *72) plus another number so that you can win/claim a prize that they are offering. By entering this code from your phone it hard programs your line to be forwarded to whatever number you dialed in after the code. This allows the scammers to make calls to your number and be forwarded, and you be billed for the charges.

Protection: Always ignore these types of calls. If you do answer, immediately hang up.

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