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Security & privacy

Warning: These are the tactics scammers use to fool older people on the phone

While scammers have embraced the digital age to target victims through social media, fake websites and landing pages, don’t think that they forgot their roots. A simple phone call is still an effective tool for criminals to practice their crooked trade.

Did you know that your phone has built-in tools to silence spam calls? These types of calls can range from annoying to downright dangerous. You can set it up whether you have an Android or iPhone, so these calls are blocked and sent to voicemail. Tap or click here for instructions.

You may be taking precautions when it comes to your phone, but what about your friends and loved ones? Since it’s National Family Caregivers Month, the FTC has issued a PSA about spotting these types of scam calls. Read on for details.

Sounds legit but isn’t

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to scams and crooks. Especially during the holidays when criminals up their game.

The FTC is warning about a recent uptick in scam phone calls that target the elderly. Here’s how they work. Thieves will pose as government agencies, a loved one, tech support or even a potential love interest to gain trust or frighten a victim into giving up personal and financial information.

Anyone can be a target, so now is an excellent time to brush up on your security skills and help out others you care about.

Let’s take a look at some recent scams that have been going around.

  • Law enforcement scams – Police departments across the country are warning citizens about scammers impersonating law enforcement. Recipients are being threatened with fines and jail if they don’t comply with the “officer’s” demands.
  • That isn’t your phone provider – Scammers are doubling down on their phone skills, making calls and posing as the victim’s phone providers. They will request account information, claiming to help stop a threat that doesn’t actually exist.
  • Scammers using the pandemicPhone scammers are using COVID-19 or stimulus checks as bait.
  • FBI impersonation scams – Crooks are making calls and impersonating the FBI, threatening recipients with fines and jail time.

Stay alert for yourself and others

In light of National Family Caregivers Month, the FTC reminds everyone to be wary about scam calls. The agency offered the following tips to reduce the chances of falling victim:

  • Your mobile phone likely has built-in call blocking. For landlines, speak to your phone provider. Note: This will silence scam calls but could also block some legitimate calls.
  • You can also register your number with the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry. While this may not work against scam calls, it does add a layer of protection against unwanted calls from within the U.S.
  • If you pick up the phone and sense a scam, hang up. If a recording asks you to press a number, don’t do it, even if it says it will stop future calls.
  • Think you or someone you’re caring for provided personal information to a crook? Report it at IdentityTheft.gov
  • Never feel pressured or rushed. Simply hang up the phone when a caller pressures you.

Don’t forget to share this article with family and friends so they can protect others as well. They will thank you later.

Keep reading

If you use an older phone, there’s a good chance it won’t work anymore starting in January

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