Scam calls are made by different people with the sole intention of cheating and extracting money from the victim. Scam calls are made to fill the victim with wrong information, fearful facts or make them yield to unwanted services.
On average, nearly a million scam calls are made in the US alone and the trend is uniform throughout the world. Most of these calls are robocalls made by AI systems that intend to find prospective buyers to sell a product.
Different types of scam calls
Over 80% of scam calls are common and not intended specifically for any particular victim. But, 20% of them are clear-cut phishing calls targeted towards a particular victim or a group. Their sole intention is to make the victim yield to specific demands through threat, pressure or lies.
For example, many recent Chinese immigrants get a call stating they have to pay a particular amount to the embassy to keep their passports intact. The voice sounds diplomatic, speaks in Chinese and often addresses the victims by their name.
FTC reports millions of dollars gathered from several thousand victims through such calls. Since the requested amount is small, often ranging from $200 to $250, and requests people to pay through a link that exactly duplicates the original Chinese immigration website, many people fall victim to this scam.
Scammers have foraged millions of dollars by talking to numerous immigrants in the US. This is a clear example of scam calls targeting a specific group. Individual victim calls will often say a person close to the victim is in danger. Some state that you have won a lottery or any other contest and need to pay a small amount of money to get your prize.
Normal group robocalls often direct messages stating there is a personal loan available for the customer right at the moment without any paperwork or kindle them to try their hands on some new service. All types of scam calls are dangerous and will cause potential hazards if they are not dealt with properly.
How to handle scam calls?
There is no particular solution to prevent or escape from scam calls. But there are several ways to handle them and victims must choose what suits them best.
- Avoid attending calls from unknown numbers on your smartphone. Many smartphones nowadays show unknown numbers in red which is a warning not to answer them. It is better to register with the National Do Not Call Registry on the www.donotcall.gov website. It will provide a certain level of protection from numerous robocalls.
- Use services like Hiya, Nomorobo Robocall blocking or RoboKiller which are simple apps to install on your smartphones. These apps detect the source of the call, check whether the number is in your contact list and cut the spam calls in most cases. Some apps even fake a human voice answering the scammers to confuse them.
- In case you worry about missing an important call, use Nuwber. The website allows you to see who the number belongs to. That will help you to evaluate the situation and decide if the call is worth attending.
- If you fall victim to a scam and share any of your credit card details or personal details with criminals, take steps to inform your bank or the cybersecurity department. Call your bank and block your card for a specific period of time until you resolve the situation.
- Raise a concern regarding your safety using the www.cisa.gov cyber security department if you fear identity theft. Use the “Report a cyber issue” button on the top right corner of the website to ask for help.
- Keep yourself updated about various scams happening daily to make sure you don’t fall prey to new scams. Always be vigilant when you attend new numbers or avoid attending unknown numbers at all if possible. Use your common sense and do not hesitate to get help from your local police if you suspect something fishy.
Share your information wisely
Being careless in sharing your information with others is the main reason for targeted scam calls. FTC recently reported a call targeting budding entrepreneurs. The call was from a hitman stating he was hired to kill them by their competitors. The hitman asks them to pay a particular amount to safeguard themselves.
Such calls are possible only if the scammers know all the details about the victims and even their business rivals. Hence, be careful in safeguarding your personal information. Change your social media settings to private. Do not befriend strangers online and do not share your details with others without thinking twice.
It is better to avoid recalling the unknown numbers or attending them in the first place to escape from the scammers. Experts suggest you not to interact with unknown numbers, even say ‘I don’t want a credit card or a service’. Never press a number to end the call or show you are not interested in the service. Just cut the call to stay on the safer side to avoid tracking.
Get private help
Contact private investigators who will help you in dealing with various targeted scam calls and even get your money back. Cybersecurity experts working on your case have access to numerous advanced technologies which can help them track who called you.
Tracking them helps you to prevent them from misusing your information. If you are ready to proceed legally, your ISP will be willing to tap your phone and find out who is harassing you with the scam calls. Use such methods as a last resort as most commercial calls can be stopped by installing the relevant apps on your mobile.
Spam calls target everybody, be it a specific group of people with some common feature or one single victim. Use protective apps on your mobile, avoid answering unknown calls and report through CISA to stay protected from spam calls. Keep your information safe online and do not overshare any of your personal details. If all else fails, seek the help of private cybersecurity experts to trace who is trying to scam you through targeted calls.