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Security & privacy

Scam callers posing as phone providers – Here’s what happens if they trick you

You can never be completely safe from fraud. Online crooks will try anything to trick you into handing over sensitive information they can use to steal money for you. Sometimes their scam involves requesting direct payment into their coffers.

Fraud alerts are there to protect you. A company will warn you of suspicious activity, and hopefully, you can do something about it before the damage is done. The kicker is that you can’t even trust fraud alerts 100% of the time. Tap or click here to see how one victim lost $10,000 to a scammer posing as Chase bank.

The above case is similar to another recent incident in which the scammer worked their crooked trade over the phone. While victims can sometimes get their money back from the company the scammer impersonated, it helps to have media back up to put the pressure on. Keep reading for tips on avoiding these types of scams.

Can you hear me now? You should probably hang up

A woman in Arizona recently received a phone call from Verizon, which happened to be her mobile carrier. The alleged Verizon employee told Sarah Gallegos that someone was trying to break into her account, azfamily.com reported. The caller requested access to Sarah’s Verizon account to stop it, and she gave it to them.

The caller turned out to be a scammer who used Sarah’s account to purchase three iPhone12 Pro Max smartphones for a total of $3,200. She wasn’t aware of it until she checked her Verizon account sometime later.

According to Sarah, Verizon said that the phones were picked up at a Verizon store by somebody who was not asked to provide identification.

A local investigative reporter and author of our source contacted Verizon about the incident. The mobile provider sent Sarah an email stating that it investigated her claim and found her not responsible. The charges were removed from her account.

A similar case of fraud occurred between a victim and a scammer pretending to be a Roku employee. The victim contacted the scammer via a phone number she received while setting up her Roku device.

How to protect yourself from these scams

It’s frustrating to know that you can’t always trust the procedures that were put in place to protect you. But you can take some steps to verify things before giving up sensitive information. Here are some ways to avoid falling victim to imposter scams:

  • Go directly to the source – If you receive a call, email or text message informing you of an issue with one of your accounts, go to the official site and log in to your account to see if anything is out of place.
  • Safeguard your credentials – If your login credentials are requested, do not hand them over. Legitimate businesses will not ask for this information over the phone.
  • Don’t panic – If you feel pressured or rushed, it’s scam. A legitimate employee would not put that type of pressure on you.
  • When in doubt, hang up – If you feel nervous or suspicious, hang up the phone and give yourself time to think.
  • Help catch the criminals – Report any suspicious callers to the company they are impersonating. You can also submit a report to the Federal Trade Commission.

Keep reading

Hackers, scammers and advertisers are after you – 5 smartphone security steps to take now

Money scams are out of control: How to lock down your bank or payment app

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