If you’ve noticed an increase in unsolicited phone calls — even though you’re on the Do Not Call registry — you’re not alone. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warn that these calls may appear to come from a local business, your bank, a neighbor, or even from yourself. The point is to get you to pick up the phone.
It’s known as caller ID “spoofing” technology, and scam artists use it to impersonate other callers. The variety of scam calls seems never-ending. Some connect you to a live person on the other end, while others start with a recording, also known as a “robocall.
When you receive calls like the ones described above, take the advice of the FTC — just hang up. In addition:
- Don’t press any buttons. The caller may instruct you to press a button to speak to an agent, be removed from the call list, or register a complaint. As tempting as that might be, by pressing a button, you might actually be agreeing to something.
- Look up numbers yourself. Even if you think the call might have a legitimate purpose, for example, a problem with your bank account, it’s still safer to hang up. Then, use the phone book or perhaps your account statement to find a number yourself. Call the bank and explain what happened. They’ll be able to tell you if the call was legitimate.
- Reveal nothing. Never give out personal financial information. If you didn’t initiate the call, don’t provide bank account or credit card numbers, your Social Security number, or even your birth date or age.
You can report a scam by logging onto ftc.gov/complaint. To register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry, go to donotcall.gov.
For more information on this topic review my other blog post: “Don’t Let Phone Scams Trick You”