Wrong Number

A look at the most common phone scams

According to a recent report from the phone app Truecaller, one out of every 6 Americans has lost money due to a phone scam. That’s unfortunate, and a sign that the scourge of cell phone life — robocalls — is more than just a nuisance, it’s a real problem. The best way to protect yourself from getting conned is to be educated. Here are some of the most common phone scams.

  • One ring scam. This scam has picked up steam lately. As the name indicates, the way this con works is the scammer calls, but hangs up after one or two rings. The hope is that you’ll call back, which racks up huge phone toll charges that are paid to the scammer. If a number seems off, Google it to see if it’s legit. Don’t — I repeat don’t — immediately call it back.
  • IRS Calls. As US News reports, fake IRS calls increase around tax season. They typically threaten you about taxes and ask for payment via gift cards or wire transfers. All of these things are red flags. The IRS doesn’t call tax payers and it definitely doesn’t ask for money via gift cards or wire transfers.
  • Bank Fraud. Sometimes a scammer will call pretending to be someone from your bank, and ask for account information. Never give this type of information to someone who contacted you. Instead, hang up and call your bank and verify that the previous call was legit.
  • Health Care Scams. Just like the bank fraud calls, sometimes con artists will call you pretending to be a health insurance agent or someone from Medicare. They will attempt to get your account numbers and passwords. The best defense, again, is to hang up and call your insurance company directly.
  • Chris O'Shea

    Chris O'Shea