In 2020, roughly a third of the reported 1.25 million scam complaints to the Federal Trade Commission involved phone calls. On a median basis, victims lost $1,170 from scam calls. The robocallers often mask themselves with false phone numbers appearing local and real, calls for immediate or urgent action, and little information. Below are five common categories of spam calls that can snare those not paying attention.
You may have received calls where an ominous voice purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service threatened garnishment or even jail should you not pay an outstanding tax bill. To make good on the debt, they said you could give them a credit card or debit card number. This
The Internal Revenue Service does not initiate enforcement of taxes by phone call. If you become delinquent, fail to file returns, or file them incorrectly, the IRS will send you a written notice. It will include a legitimate phone number, address for the IRS office, and even your rights if you contest the bill. Taxpayers with significant amounts owed or those subject to field audits may get phone calls from the IRS. Even then, a written agency notice will precede the call.
Your Vehicle Warranty
You might get a call with a warning that your vehicle’s warranty will soon expire. The caller offers you an extended warranty, often costing several hundreds of dollars. Aside from the potential of phishing, these robocalls often entice you to buy something you have not yet read. The service contract posing as an extended warranty may not cover many types of car problems.
Take heed of anyone calling without first identifying their company. Ask anyone offering a vehicle warranty or service contract for a copy of the warranty or contract. Often, the telemarketers will lack specifics as to what the contract or warranty covers or what local repair shops honor the warranty. As with many of these scams, avoid callers asking for your financial or personal information.
Spam callers have appropriated the name of hospitality conglomerate Marriott for their own independent devices. The call often begins with exciting news that Marriott is offering you a free stay at one of its hotels.
When you remain on the line, you’ll get someone selling something not related to Marriott. With the sales pitch comes requests for your name, address, credit card information, and other financial information. As with many other scams, the artists are phishing for sources to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals.
Marriott does not authorize these calls. In fact, it has filed a “John Doe” lawsuit against the unnamed and likely unknown defendants to stop these calls.
You might get calls full of false promises of cancelled credit card, student loan, and other debts. Similar scams take the form of rate reduction offers and debt consolidation. The scammers gain through obtaining fees for these unrendered services or capturing your identity.
The fact that the caller promises to cancel an account you don’t have in the first place should raise an alarm. By federal regulation, debt relief companies may not charge upfront fees for their services. As such, avoid those that require them.
Robocallers falsely claim to have detected viruses or suspicious activity on your laptop or desktop. To fix your problem, the scammer asks you for remote access to your computer. This may include the password or other log-in information. Predictably, there is often also a request for your credit card or bank account to process payment for the technical support. If you fall prey, you will likely have a lot of your personal or sensitive files, passwords, accounts, email, and finances exposed.
Unless you have given an organization your permission to give you robocalls, it is illegal for companies to do so. Additionally, if you put your name on the “Do Not Call” registry, telemarketers must stop calling you, except in a few specific situations. If you are being harassed by spam callers or telemarketers, you can reach out to a law firm, like Heidarpour Law Firm. These firms can help stop these calls once and for all. They can even get you compensation for your stress.
In combating spam callers, you will find it best to not answer the call. If you take the call, tell the caller that you are on a “Do Not Call” registry maintained by the federal government. By no means should you furnish your credit card numbers, bank account information, address, name, or phone number in response to an unsolicited call. Report what you suspect to be spam or scam calls to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.