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Security & privacy

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

It’s always good to remind yourself that scams are just around the corner, waiting for you to drop your guard. Even if you get a phone call from someone you trust, it’s better to be safe at the moment than regret it afterward. Tap or click here for five surefire phrases you’re talking to a scammer on the phone.

Unfortunately, scams that prey on the generosity of caring family members are all too common. The latest example is a real doozy! Someone in Kansas thought they were helping a family member when they received an urgent phone call. It turned out to be a scam, costing them $12,000.

Read on to see how this happened and how you can protect yourself from phone scams.

Here’s the backstory

Most people won’t think twice about helping a family member in need of assistance. People are generally eager to lend a hand, whether a ride to the store or a few dollars to cover an overdue bill. But that can become scary when the call involves law enforcement.

With all the signs of a classic trick, one Kansas resident got a call from someone claiming to be a family member. They said they were in a sticky position and needed $12,000 for a bond to get out of jail.

The victim received a second call from someone claiming to be the first caller’s lawyer, and to establish authenticity, they suggested a call to a local bonds company. Shockingly, it wasn’t a family member at all. It was a scammer pulling off an elaborate scheme.

Unfortunately, the victim realized this too late as they withdrew $12,000 in cash in $100 bills and handed it over to a fake employee of the bail bonds company, according to KSN News.

What you can do about it

Scammers try to make the situation urgent in schemes like these, claiming there is very little time to act. By causing panic and confusion, the criminals hope you will make illogical decisions and give them what they want.

If you’re ever in this situation, don’t panic. Stay calm and remember these safety tips:

  • Avoid answering unknown calls. Don’t answer or return calls from numbers you can’t identify. If the call is important, they will leave a message.
  • Before assuming that a caller is a long-lost family member, try to verify the information with someone else. This is especially important for senior citizens who might not be up to date with family additions.
  • Write down any information about the scammer and block their phone number. Take screenshots of your conversation to show the police.
  • Don’t give personal information over the phone if you don’t trust the person or can’t verify their identity.
  • Never send payment in any form to someone on the phone who you don’t know.
  • If a caller creates a sense of urgency, hang up.
  • If you think you’ve been scammed over the phone, file a police report and report the scam to the FTC.

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