You've been the victim of this terrifying crime, or know someone who has been. It's so bad that your stomach twists into knots when your phone rings.
It may be someone screaming that they're with the IRS and you're going to jail. It could be a gentle-voiced person who says they're with Microsoft. They want to help you because your computer is about to crash!
There are so many phone scams these days that you'd think the Do-Not-Call registry didn't exist. It's like clockwork. You sit down to eat dinner and your phone starts ringing incessantly.
The worst part is these scammers are scary. They say you owe them money. They might threaten to send you to prison. They'll tell you that your credit score will be ruined or your virus-infected computer will crash.
Of course, they want your money. You might think, "how can anyone be tricked by these people?"
Well, it turns out that they use scientifically proven techniques to convince you or your elderly loved ones, that they are who they claim to be. They'll convince you that they're trying to be helpful.
There are six techniques they use to convince you to give them your money. Do you know these six tricks?
Bonus: Keep reading for simple ways you can spot phone scammers!
6 tricks phone scammers use
We don't want you to be the next victim of a phone scam. Americans lose millions of dollars every year to phone scams. Here are six ways they convince you to pay up.
1. They'll apologize for taking up your time
2. They'll take their time to explain who they are and why they're calling
3. Scammers will lie about who they are, whether they say they're with the IRS, the police or a reputable company
4. They'll welcome your skepticism, saying they understand your concerns
5. They'll ramp up their pressure and threats by changing the tone of their voice
6. They will share information about you to gain your trust
It's really important that you never share personal information, such as your address, with anyone over the phone. Of course, never give your credit card information or bank account numbers to anyone, unless you contact them first.
How to outwit phone scammers
1. Stay in control of the phone call
2. Don't let them rush you
3. Pay attention to your intuition
The most effective tool you have with phone scams is your power to hang up. If someone starts asking you for personal information or for money, immediately hang up.
If you're worried that the person calling could have been from the IRS, the police or a reputable company, find their website and look for contact information. Then, you call them.