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7 Types of scam calls and how to avoid them this 2022

We’d all want to believe that there is good in people, but some really just take the opposite. From identity theft to thievery, scammers are notorious when it comes to targeting people from all walks of life.

Scam calls have been a topic since they became widespread within the trend of telemarketing activities. It’s unidentifiable when the first fraudulent call happened but it’s still prevalent to this day.

With the rise of call blockers, one would think that we’d be safe from these activities but it’s more likely that they have advanced too. However, one surefire way to avoid getting scammed over the phone is to know the nature of the call. This is so they can stop the scammers before they can do anything.

What are scam calls?

Scam calls refer to the fraudulent nature of calls that individuals or corporations make to trick people into giving away their money or sensitive information.

Scammers often downplay the situation as a routine call or even lying to the person they intended to victimize.

cellphone
What are scam calls?

Where did scam calls originate?

Even with the advancement of technology today, it’s still hard to pinpoint where fake calls really originate from. But as far as experts know, scam calls or fraudulent calls come from different countries from their intended victims.

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This is to avoid detection and police jurisdiction from the countries they’re targeting. However, scam call centers are prevalent in India, as per a New York Times article titled “​​Who’s Making All Those Scam Calls?”

Are telemarketing calls scams?

It’s safe to say that most telemarketing activities are not fraudulent calls. Legitimate telemarketers would reach out to their leads stating the purpose of the call while identifying themselves and the company they work for.

Telemarketing agents will never ask for any money and any sensitive data besides a name and basic information. If they ever missed a lead (e.g not picking up, can’t be reached), they will leave a voicemail instead.

Avoiding these types of scam calls

One of the most basic ways to avoid scam calls is to be wary of unknown callers. Modern smartphones have built-in spam filters but there are still unknown dials that pass through this.

If you ever accidentally take a fake call, hang up immediately and don’t ever give out any information. If it is a legitimate telemarketing call, they will call back or leave a voicemail.

Avoiding these fraudulent transactions can be proven effective if and when everyone knows the different types of scam calls.

Bailing out a family member

This call uses emotional manipulation and family ties to trick the victim into sending money to the person on the other end of the call.

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How they do it:

Scam calls like this often start out as a family member or a relative that is in trouble, often with the police, and they will state that they are being held at a police station with the right to bail.

At this point, the scammer will then pressure the victim into giving their bank details so they can post the bail.

How to avoid the scam:

These types often target senior citizens but anyone can still fall for the gambit. One way to avoid falling for this is to verify the caller’s relationship with you or your family members. 

Ask about personal details that only the real person would know and if they can’t answer it, they’re most likely running fake activities.

One can opt to call the precinct to double-check the legitimacy of the call too.

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware is a malware (malicious software) that locks or blocks users from using their personal computers. Users often get these from interacting with an application or a website that has been infected with ransomware.

How they do it:

Attackers will usually render the infected computer useless, only showing a phone number on the screen along with the instructions to call as soon as possible. Victims will then call the number in hopes of getting rid of the malware.

During the call, they will ask the victim to purchase gift cards and to dictate the code over the phone. Gift cards are much harder to track once it has been used.

How to avoid the scam:

Avoid it by not accessing any suspicious links or downloading apps and media from unsecured sources and websites.

If the computer still ends up getting infected with ransomware, don’t call the number and don’t engage in a scam call. Contact a trusted technical support representative for assistance.

a man in front of the laptop
Avoiding these types of scam calls

Phishing schemes

Phishing refers to the act of pretending to be a legitimate business and organization to get the victim’s information such as social security numbers and bank details.

Scammers use fake websites, emails, and fake calls to get the information they need with relative ease.

How they do it:

These often start with the “agent” calling about an issue with the victim’s account. The nature of these issues is pressing and involves fraudulent activities in regard to money, sending the victim into a panic.

The scammer will ask for information such as credit card details, bank information, full names, and social security numbers to create a fake identity to use for malicious reasons. 

How to avoid the scam:

Keep in mind that banks and other legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details—especially credit card numbers—to verify one’s account details. If the caller starts asking these questions, hang up and block the number.

Telemarketing scams

These scam calls besmirched the name of telemarketing. Fraudulent activities are being done under the guide of marketing and/or selling a product or service over the phone.

How they do it:

Fake telemarketers will often call about a product or a service that they’re offering, coercing or pressuring the victim to purchase the aforementioned goods. The victim gives in and gives their information to the caller.

How to avoid the scam:

To avoid telemarketing activities, individuals can sign up for the Do Not Call registry that their countries have. While some kind of legitimate dials can still go through, like charity and political surveys, this will lessen the chances of getting false calls.

Lottery schemes

Lottery or prize scam calls refer to the instance wherein the victim will win the lottery or a luxury prize such as a vacation, a car, or gadgets.

How they do it:

The scammers will contact the victim saying that they’ve won a large sum of money or a prize for a nonexistent raffle. They will often hype the victims up in a state of euphoria to further cloud their judgment with the luxury price.

When the time finally comes, they will ask the victim for a security fee in order to pass on the price.

How to avoid the scam:

Real lottery and raffle representatives will never ask for any fee for the winners to receive their winnings. Another telling point is that if you’ve never participated in any lottery or any raffle draws, then any activities pertaining to these are already suspicious right off the bat.

Tax scams

These kinds of scam calls are especially prevalent during tax filing season.

How they do it:

Individuals may pretend to be an official employee from the tax department and tell the victim that they have a dispute with their documents. The fake call will be of intimidating nature, often pressuring and stressing the victim more because of non-existent issues with tax.

Some even tell the victims that they have unpaid taxes and must pay so the police won’t be involved.

How to avoid the scam:

If you are certain that your taxes are filed correctly, there’s no reason for you to continue entertaining these kinds of scam calls. Hang up, note the number, and report it to the real tax department.

No matter how many dial attempts they do, don’t answer it and don’t call back.

Security fee

This kind of fraudulent activity exists in the same nature as the lottery scam as it involves an individual telling the victim that they help someone to move money from an offshore source. 

How they do it:

Also known as the “Nigerian Prince” scam, the call will be from someone posing as royalty from another country. He is looking for someone who can help him to move his so-called riches to the country by using a local bank account.

In exchange for assistance, the “prince” will promise a large sum of money to the victim once his money is successfully transferred. In reality, the victim just gave their bank account details and they will never see any penny.

How to avoid the scam:

As one of the oldest fake calls, many people know how to avoid this one. But there are some people, especially the elderly, who will fall for it.

If someone claims to be royalty—a prince, in this case—looking for a stranger to help them, that’s already a red flag. Nothing good will come out if you keep them on the phone.

It’s best to hang up and block the number.

a man with a money on his hand
Avoiding these types of scam calls

Why scam calls are still prevalent in the internet age

Fraudulent calls have been somewhat a business for some people—an article by the NY Times has covered the call centers wherein the dials are from.

One of the reasons why these activities are still prevalent in this day and age is because many people are still unaware of how things work in the digital world, take an article from BBC titled “Why so many people fall for scams”. 

It seems like staying vigilant for any unknown callers will be the best possible solution for now.

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