Five More Common Phone Scams

January 16, 2016

Last month we shared the Top 5 Phone Scams and this month we are sharing five more common phone scams.

1.  Government Grants. The caller tells you have been awarded a government grant of between $5,000 to $25,000 just for being a good citizen. Using VOIP telephone services the caller disguises their true location and the call appears to be originating from the United States. In order to receive that grant you need to provide your checking  account information and pay hundreds of dollars in processing fees usually through a wire transfer service. The victim is left robbed of money and never receives any grant.All Posts

2.  Auto Insurance. The caller says you are eligible for lower insurance rates and then ask for your personal information to verify the rate, which is then used for identity theft. Yes, its true you do need to provide some personal information to actually get an insurance quote. The red flags here are that you didn’t place the call to a well known insurance company or agency. Someone claiming to be an agent called you and you have no way of knowing who they really are. Stay skeptical. If you are interested in a quote ask for their name, company name, phone #. Check the company out online and then call and find out if they work where they claim to, etc.

3. Payday Loans. These callers target those who have recently applied for a payday loan or other online loan applications. The caller claims to be a debt collector demanding payment and late fees. They reportedly often have accurate personal information such as dates of birth, and even social security numbers. If you don’t pay what they say you owe they may call repeatedly, and threaten you with more penalties, legal action and even arrest. What you should do:

  • Notify your banking institutions.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger.
  • File a complaint at

4. IRS Scam. Someone claiming to be from IRS calls and says you owe taxes and penalties. . You are threatened with legal action and arrest if you don’t pay immediately by wire transfer, or credit card, etc. This is not how the IRS operates. The IRS will 1st mail you a bill and give the opportunity to appeal the amount they say you owe; They will not ask you to pay via credit or debit card numbers over the phone or threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

5. Bank Card Deactivated Scams. The automated phone message or caller claims to be from your bank and informs you that your cards has been locked, deactivated or a hold has been placed on it. You are then asked to verify your personal and financial information. Your financial institution may call but will never ask you to then provide them your bank account number, PIN  or card expiration date. They already have this information. They also will never ask you to pay fees up front and work out a loan on the backside. If you receive a call like this, hang up and look up the banks phone number on a statement or card and call them directly. Never call the number the caller provided.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of phone scams:

  • Never give your Social Security number—or personal information of any kind—over the telephone or online unless you initiated the contact.
  • Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. Especially if the e-mail includes upsetting statements designed to get you to react immediately.
  • Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that request personal information.
  • Ensure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches have been applied.
  • Check your bank, credit, and debit card statements regularly to make sure that there are no unauthorized transactions. If anything looks suspicious, contact your bank and all card issuers.
  • When you contact companies, use numbers provided on the back of cards or statements.