You would think that scammers would run out of ideas of new ways to rip us off. Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case.
There's no sign of these hucksters letting up anytime soon. Crafty criminals even have the ability to take an old scam, put a new twist on it and find a plethora of new victims.
That's actually happening right now. A new robocalling scam is making the rounds and it comes with a super odd twist.
Strange twist on robocall scam
You're not going to believe this one. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning everyone about a new robocall scam spreading across the U.S.
Scammers are impersonating representatives from the Chinese Consulate. The FTC said it's received numerous reports of people falling victim to this scam.
What's happening is, fraudsters are calling people and claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate. Those who answer the call are told they have a package at the local Chinese Consulate office. Or, they need to give them sensitive information to avoid being in trouble with the Chinese Consulate.
The scammer then asks for your credit card or banking information. Sometimes they say that you need to make a bank transfer to them.
No matter which version of the story you're told, don't fall for it. It's a scam!
The FTC says to never send money to anyone who calls and asks you to send it. Never give your Social Security number, bank or credit card number, or other critical data to anyone who calls and asks for it. Same thing if they email or message you through social media.
Here's another important piece of information to remember. Never will the real Chinese Consulates, nor the Chinese Embassy, call you to ask for money.
If you receive a call or message like this, report it to the FTC. Click here to report it.
More ways to stop robocall scams in their tracks
Use call blockers
Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. You can also visit the FCC's website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls. (Click here to learn how to block specific phone numbers.)
Block unknown callers
Many phone companies allow you to block calls that don't show a number on caller ID. Check with your provider to find out how to turn this feature on. Note: if someone you actually know calls you and blocks their outgoing number, their call won't make it through if you've turned this feature on.
This is actually the easiest solution to eliminating robocalls. If you receive a call from an unknown number or one that doesn't show up on caller ID, don't answer. If it's an important call, the person will leave a message and you can get back to them.
Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry
This move will stop many robocalls before they begin. If you're on the registry, it's illegal for many robocallers to call you. Click here to get your number into the National Do Not Call Registry. After your number is on the registry for 31 days, you can report unwanted sales calls.
If you answer the phone and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify and target live respondents. Once they know the number is active, you will receive more calls in the future.
Get call blocking apps
You can also download and install call blocking apps such as NomoRobo, True Caller or Hiya on your smartphone. Click here for more information about these types of apps.
Listen to Kim's free podcast on ways to outsmart robocallers
You’ve heard them – the annoying robotic calls that try to scam you with free vacations or false threats from the IRS. In fact, it is estimated that scammers make 2.5 billion robocalls in one month alone. This poses a very real risk to consumers as it gets harder to identify and avoid malicious automated calls. In this Komando on Demand podcast, you’ll learn how to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to these tricky and downright dangerous phone calls.
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