Avoid Phone, Email, Text Fraud

Avoid Phone, Email, Text Fraud
Posted on 04/04/2018

By Stan Rosenzweig

We are inundated with phone calls, texts and emails from people out to get us. Caller ID shows a local 801 number or a name that looks legitimate, but is really the result of "spoofing," or fooling our caller ID into showing fake names or numbers.

These callers say they are from the IRS, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local police, a mortgage company, etc. — telling us either that we are in danger or being investigated, or that we've overpaid and are due a refund. They ask to verify our personal information over the phone or by email, or demand we pay a fine over the phone to avoid arrest.

Scam alert: Nobody from the government ever asks for personal information over the phone; they'll never ask for money this way and they'll never warn you in advance of an arrest. Some phone scams ask questions in which the answer is "yes." They record this answer and dub your recorded "yes" into questions that indicate you have authorized a large payment. Also, scams are being texted to your mobile phone with a call back number or a link to click.

How can you minimize fraud from scammers?

Don't believe your caller ID or your email "from" box. Hang up on robo-calls, but if you do answer, never respond "yes" to questions.

Never click on a link if you haven't independently verified the source. Delete all emails and texts you aren't 100 percent sure of.

Never give a stranger caller your personal information and never pay by phone, or online to any source you aren’t certain of and haven't yourself initiated.