Double-Check Before You Dial!

Double-Check Before You Dial!

As we begin a new year we want to draw your attention to a scam that is becoming more and more common. We often tell people that they can be more trusting if they are the ones doing the dialing and know who they’re calling. Well, the scammers are well aware of this and have found a way to take advantage of folks who might inadvertently misdial a number. Please share this information with others, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have ideas for future Smart Tips!

Upon making a phone call to an organization you know and trust, have you ever been greeted by an automatic recording that congratulated you for being the lucky caller selected to win a free prize or to take a survey? We know to be suspicious of unwanted calls from scammers who claim we’ve won something, but what about when we made the call ourselves?

Unfortunately, scammers have been purchasing series of phone numbers that closely resemble the phone numbers of legitimate businesses. Scammers use these numbers to fool people into thinking they’ve reached the organization they were intending to, when in fact they’ve reached a scammer.

Here are some red flags that the phone number you dialed may be a scam:

  • You are greeted by an automated recording that congratulates you on being selected for a survey or tells you you’ve qualified to win a prize or product.
  • The automated greeting is general and does not reference the name of the organization you were intending to reach.
  • The greeting eventually offers to connect you with a live representative.
  • The live representative claims that he or she will transfer you to the organization you were originally trying to reach but first wants your credit card number to pay a fee to claim your prize.

If you encounter any of these red flags, hang up the phone, check the number you intended to dial, and try dialing again. Always double-check the area code and full phone number before you dial, as one slip of the finger can result in a costly experience. Never provide your financial information to someone who claims you’ve qualified for a “free” product, service or prize. And alert your financial institution immediately if you do accidentally give out your payment information. Need help? Call an ElderWatch volunteer specialist at 1-800-222-4444, telephone option 2.