Scam and Computer Phone Calls: How to Avoid Getting Scammed
You are sitting at home one night, minding your own business, when suddenly the phone rings. Without even looking at the number, you know it’s a scammer because they always call late afternoon or at night! Why do they do that? Do they really think that if you were to answer the phone right away, you would be too slow to push ignore or end the call before they could scare you into giving them all your money? Whatever their reasoning may be, there are ways to avoid getting scammed by them and other cyber threats like computer phone calls and email scams.
Do Not Provide Personal Information
A sure sign of a scam is someone asking for personal information (i.e., your credit card number, Medicare Details, etc.) over the phone. If you get one of these calls, don’t give out any personal information; hang up immediately. For more ways on how to avoid scams like these, see our post on identity theft prevention. The Australian government also has their own tips page online here
Never Give Personal Information Over an Email Link: Be wary of emails with links that seem too good to be true. While it’s certainly possible that something really awesome might happen once you click on an email link, chances are good that scammers are trying to trick people into giving them private details through email links. Don’t do it!
Know When It’s Fake
A big scam phone call trick is for scammers to get you talking about your financial information. They might try to tell you that there’s been a problem with your bank account, for example, and ask you for your account number so they can check on it. Another popular scam is when someone calls pretending to be from Microsoft support telling you that there is a security vulnerability on your computer – if you allow them access they will infect your computer with malware. When in doubt hang up or contact your bank or credit card company directly through their official channels. Remember – If anyone ever asks you for personal information over the phone do not give it out! This includes not just passwords but also PIN numbers, social security numbers, mother’s maiden name or any other personal data which can provide unauthorized parties access to our money/accounts/identities etc.
Do Not Share Any Information
To avoid being scammed by phone, you should not share any information that could be used against you. If someone calls, hang up as soon as possible. In some cases, scammers may ask for your Credit Card number or other personal information. Do not give it to them – they do not need it and if they ask for these details, you should hang up right away. Also, never send money using a wire transfer service such as Bitcoin, Western Union, MoneyGram or Wire Transfer unless you are absolutely sure that you are dealing with a legitimate business. Some scammers will claim that you have won a contest or grant from a foreign company in order to get money from their targets – they will ask their victims to send payment through a wire transfer service for taxes, shipping charges and so on. Again, simply hang up on anyone who asks for payment in advance of receiving goods or services!
Know When It’s Real
There are some things you can do to keep yourself safe, even with computer-based phone scams. First of all, if you get a call that asks for your Credit Card number or other identifying information, hang up immediately. Your information is only valuable if you give it away. If there’s any doubt about whether a call is legitimate, look up the company through their official channels before giving out any info. Finally, never allow someone to pressure you into providing any kind of payment over the phone; scammers will often say they need an immediate payment in order to fix an issue (like an arrested warrant), but there’s no reason why you’d have to make such payments on behalf of another entity.
How to report a Scam
If you believe you’ve been targeted by a scam, report it. You can find information on various types of scams, including identity theft, fake lottery prizes, fake check scams, work-at-home schemes and others at the ACCC Scamwatch website. https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ The ACCC also offers tips on how consumers can protect themselves from phone calls they suspect are fraudulent. If you think you have received a call out of normal business hours, be aware that scammers often disguise their telephone numbers to make it appear as though they are calling from elsewhere in Australia. Also, ask yourself if there is any legitimate reason why someone would need your personal details over the phone without first offering something in return—and if someone else has already alerted them about an opportunity to improve your life changes! If all these suspicions kick in simultaneously then pick up another line and call them back using *67 before dialling as this will hide your number from the recipient of the call.