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5 rules to avoid the #1 scam in America

5 rules to avoid the #1 scam in America
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If I asked you what the number 1 scam in America is right now, you might say phishing email scams, Facebook scams, Nigerian 419 scams, sweetheart scams or any number of other scam types. However, you're probably thinking a little too digital.

The largest type of scam actually uses an older technology that you have in your home right now. Yes, it's the humble phone scam.

Phone security company Pindrop Security does an annual "State of Phone Fraud" report and it found some disturbing things. For example, there are more than 86 million scam calls every month, and that's just in the U.S.

To put it another way, one in every 2,200 phone calls is a scam call. That's up 30% from 2013, which means it's only going to get worse. If you haven't gotten a scam call yet, it's almost certain you will.

Part of the problem with detecting phone scams is that there are so many. It could be an automated robocall telling you that you won a prize and need to call a number and give them personal information to claim it. Or it could be the "IRS" saying there was a problem with your taxes and you need to pay right away to avoid going to jail.

Another common one is the phone tech support scam. This is where someone calls you pretending to be from Microsoft, or even "Windows," and claims you have viruses on your computer. However, if you let them on to "clean" it, they'll really install viruses and charge you a bunch of money. Learn exactly how one of my savvy listeners dealt with this type of scam and what it can teach you.

Still, if you aren't paying attention, it's easy to get tricked, and scammers are really good at sounding genuine. One way to find them out is to throw the incoming number into a site like 800 Notes and see if it's a reported scam number.

However, scammers can also "spoof" phone numbers to make it appear that they're calling from legitimate places. For example, they might call you pretending to be the police and their number will be similar or the same as the one for your local police.

Fortunately, there are some rules you can follow to avoid being tricked in a phone scam. If you have older family members or friends, be sure to share this article with them.

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