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woman getting phone scammed and calling police
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Phone scam warning: Hang up if you get one of these calls

Cybercriminals view the internet as a treasure trove of victims, but some like to keep it old-fashioned and stick to phones.

Some scammers combine the two mediums and lure people from their computers to their phones. This trick cost one elderly couple $300,000. Tap or click here for the full story and what they could have done to avoid falling victim.

Phishing campaigns can start anywhere and target people globally. But occasionally, swindlers keep it local to add legitimacy to their calls. We’ve got details of a couple of scams targeting U.S. residents. We’ll also give you tips to stay safe from these types of cons.

Don’t always trust caller ID

Residents of Bellingham, Washington, have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be city officials. The callers are asking for personal information, and it’s gotten to the point where the city is warning locals about the calls.

According to a report from KGMI, the scammers are hacking caller IDs to make it look like the calls are coming from official city phones.

Bellingham Police advise never giving personal or sensitive information to unexpected or suspicious callers. You should also contact your local police department if you suspect a scam or fraud. That’s all solid advice.

Tap or click here for five surefire phrases that let you know you’re talking to a scammer.

Watch out for phony police fundraisers

If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the police department and asking for donations, stop and think before taking action. This is a common enough scam across the country, and Springfield, Missouri, residents are the latest victims.

Helping out your local police department is great, but you don’t want to help the criminals, do you? Unfortunately, most of these phone calls are not coming from the police.

Here’s a story that shows you how dumb these crooks can be.

“I got a call about a month ago, similar to that from a nationwide policing organization that wanted me to donate to their fund that was going to help officers and their families,” Springfield Police Department Chief Paul Williams told KY3. “My response was, ‘That’s interesting. I’m the chief of police, and I’m not aware of anything like that.'”

The scammers immediately hung up, and Williams encourages everyone to do the same.

Stay vigilant

Charlatans can use the names of actual non-profits and spoof called ID, so it seems the call is coming from the organization or a police department.

Legitimate police fundraisers do exist, of course. Contact the organization or police department directly before donating money if you hear about one. You don’t want to be taken advantage of by a suspicious cold call.

More tips to stay safe

  • Safeguard your information — Never give out personal data if you don’t know the sender of a text or email or caller and can’t verify their identity. Criminals only need your name, email address and telephone number to rip you off.
  • Avoid answering unknown calls — Don’t answer or return calls from numbers you can’t identify. If the call is important, they’ll leave a message. Tap or click here to find out who is calling you from an unknown or blocked number.
  • Follow up on all requests — Never trust a cold call. Whether they ask for money or information, don’t give it over the phone. Hang up and call the company or organization directly.
  • Don’t give in to pressure — If the caller pushes you to act quickly, hang up. Speak to a relative or friend about the situation to get perspective.
  • Tell someone — If you think you’ve been scammed over the phone, file a police report and report the scam to the FTC.

Keep reading

Did you get a verification code you didn’t request? You could be in danger

This phone scam cost a victim $12K – don’t fall for it

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