A recent report from the Citizen's Advice revealed that over 4 million people get scammed every year. One of the best way to defend yourself against falling prey of these scams is to get acquainted with some of the schemes used by these daredevils. Below are six of the most common scams people fall for as well as tips to play safe.
1. Beware of *72 Call Forwarding Scam
The *72 scam is one most seemingly innocuous scam people tend to fall prey to. It is one the types of scam that proof how scam artists have perfected different schemes they use to hurt their victims. So what is the scam? - Well, with this scam, the victim gets a sympathizing phone call from anywhere in the world, often time being told of a death in the family. The scammer then instructs the prey to call another number for details. This number usually begin by dialing *72. The truth however is that there is no emergency. No hospital or doctor. Essentially, the scammers are getting you to call-forward your phone number to the number they give you to call by getting you to dial *72. What this does is to transfer all calls sent to the cell phones to the scammer's phone number. Now, this is where the scam comes in- the scammer gives your cell numbers to his friends, who be anywhere in the world. With this, they can call him with your cell without your knowledge and with you getting billed for the calls.
If you have already fell for this type of scam, there is a way to get out of it. All you have to do is to enter *73 to clear call forwarding. Although I am not sure if *73 works for all carrier, you might have to check with your network provider for confirmation.
2. Beware of Text Phishers
When it comes to entering your personal and sensitive details online, utmost care needs to be taken. According to a statistics online, over 42% of the US citizen has gotten a phishing text message.
- The Scam: The text message supposedly from your bank will contain a website that looks really genuine, however, it is not. Once the address is visited, personal and vital details will be requested which is supposedly needed to "verify" your account.
- Solution: Do not follow any link you are not sure off. If you are skeptical, it is advisable to contact your bank and verify.
Also, NEVER provide vital information online except the site is secured. A secured website will have an "https" instead of the normal "http" or a padlock icon in the web address area of the browser.
3. Be Smart With Locksmith Scams
Thousands of. A press release from the Consumer federation of America reported that Locksmith fraud is one of the fastest-growing scams in the nation. There have been an increase in cases of phony locksmiths taking advantages of emergencies to exploit desperate homeowners all across the US. ABC network covered an example of this kind of case in which phony locksmith targets senior citizens in Arizona. Here is how the scam usually plays out:
- The scam: probably you are locked out of your home/car or you need to change the locks on your property for reasons best known to you. You probably accessed a listing of locksmith online and called the locksmith who grossly overcharges for a simple service. This is done majorly by unlicensed locksmiths who disassemble the locks and request for way more money than originally quoted to get the job completed.
- The phony locksmith might even bully or threaten to call the police should the victim refuse to pay. They could end up damaging your property, which could end up costing the victim more than is required to pay.
According to an expert, Tom Chandler of Diamond Lock and Key, a genuine locksmith should be able to get you back inside your home/car without drilling the locks. So, here are some of the tips that could help you prevent falling prey to locksmith scam:
- Call and request for where they are based, and match with the address on the website. Request for their registered name and license id. If not satisfied with the response, end the call
- Request for a preliminary estimate over the phone as well, extremely low prices should immediately raise a red flag. Another warning raised by Chris Thompson, the manager of Phoenix Locksmith Pros, is that no licensed locksmith with ask the consumer to pay for an estimate. So, bear this in mind the next time you find yourself in need of a locksmith.
- Request for a technician's ID as well as certification and a written quote before embarking on the job.
- Avoid handing over cash or your credit card until you are satisfied with the job done.
When it comes to safeguarding against scams, one cannot be too careful. Over the years, scammers have developed sophisticated methods of deceiving innocent consumers, making it difficult to detect. The FBI has analyzed an extended list of common fraud used by scam artist. Thus, being armed with this and the above points will prepare you for whatever the scam artist could throw at you.