Beware of Phone Scams

Criminals are finding all sorts of ways to steal your money, posing on the phone as debt collectors or phony IRS agent, or pretending to protect you from credit-card fraud.

Criminals often have enough information, like your credit card number, to trick you into trusting them. The imposters might say they’re investigating a fraudulent transaction and ask you to confirm that you have the card in your possession by reading them your security code. Don’t fall for it. It gives the imposters all the information they need to make purchases with your card.

Here are some other flagrant signs of fraud:

  • A demand that you wire funds or load money onto a prepaid card immediately.
  • A demand that you give or confirm confidential financial information, such as your credit- or debit-card number or Social Security number.
  • And in the case of the IRS — the phone call itself is a red flag. The IRS never calls taxpayers cold demanding immediate payment.

You can find out whether a caller is legitimate by:

  • Asking for his professional license number, the name of his business, the phone number, and the address. If he doesn’t provide them, he is almost certainly a scammer.
  • Demanding that a validation notice be mailed to you verifying the amount of the debt and the creditor.
  • Calling the creditor back to confirm that the debt collector is legitimate.

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