Thursday, July 26, 2018

Scams Here, There, and Everywhere

I don't know what the deal is but lately I have been inundated with scam phone calls.  I don't answer my phone anymore unless I know who is calling, any unknown call I just let go to voicemail.  On my voice mail today, one call telling me that my computer has been hijacked and that my computer will be locked and I will no longer be able to access it until I call the number they left (I'm sure they would then ask for immediate payment if I were to call back).  The second call was from the "IRS" and it said I owe back taxes and will be arrested within the hour unless I call and pay them via Western Union.  I get these kinds of calls on a daily basis and many people I know, especially seniors, say the same thing happens to them all the time.

Among other recent scams, someone called me and said there was a pending court case against me and if I didn't pay a fine immediately I would be arrested that evening.  I told the woman I would be at the courthouse in the morning so if she told me the court and docket number I would be happy to fix the problem then.  She got mad and slammed the phone down in my ear.  Then I was talking to my sister in law and she told me she just paid the annual $400 bill for her website.  When I asked what bill because I build and host both her and her husband's business websites she said she gets a bill each year for it which she pays.  I told her it was a scam and never pay anything for her website again (needless to say she was pretty upset she had been paying any bill that was sent to her).  It's a very common scam.  The scammers figure that many businesses will just pay any bill they receive without a second thought which, unfortunately, many businesses do.

It used to be that many of these scams would come to people through their email but I guess that wasn't lucrative enough (plus spam blockers work pretty well) so now the focus seems to be on phone calls (the do not call list seems to be useless).  This is just a reminder to not fall for emails/snail mails/phone calls from anyone demanding money.  Ask what agency they are calling from then hang up and look up the agency's phone number--don't use the phone number the caller gives you--and call the agency yourself if you are concerned.  Similarly you can often Google the number they call you from/leave for you to call back and will probably find many people have already reported the number as a scam.

Here's just a short list of the many scams to watch out for.

1 comment:

  1. As I read the first paragraph I was thinking your number might be on your whois info, but I'm pretty sure you've got that covered. I use a Google voice number for any public postings.

    On my phone I have an app called "Should I Answer". That catches most of it and I can report bad numbers in the app.

    Another good post. Thanks for the info.