Hiya is hip, we’ve got the 411, and we don’t want you getting tied up with phone scams, no matter how dope their ID is.* How, you ask?
We fight the bad guys. In our industry, that’s spammers (annoying) and scammers (fraudulent). According to the FTC, “every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams – from a few dollars to their life savings.” So, while we’re fighting the good fight (not all heroes wear capes), use these tips to protect yourself from scams.
Hang up. If you get a call asking for payment, hang up immediately. No one from a legitimate business or federal government agency will call you demanding money, particularly the IRS.
Don’t call an unknown number back. Scammers can be sitting on a beach in the Caribbean and look like they’re calling from the US. This tactic is called spoofing and it’s almost as gross as it sounds. If you call them back, scammers can charge you by the minute. You won’t know it’s happening and the charges add up very quickly (the FCC broke this down for you). If it’s important, the caller will leave a voicemail. If they don’t, you’re justified in not answering. Mischief – managed.
Never share credit card numbers or specific personal identification. Information like your social security and credit card number should never be given to a caller, even if you are familiar with the business or charity they appear to be calling from (remember, spoofing). Well known scams have posed as energy companies, Microsoft technical support, and charities. Rule of thumb: only give information if YOU called THEM.
Do not pay money up front. You just won a subscription to the grumpy cat of the month club, what are you going to do next??! Well, first I need to pay this company for the sweet prize that I won… NO. Any legitimate offers will not require an upfront payment.
Report suspicious numbers. Misery loves company so share your experience with others! Scams can be reported through the FTC’s Complaint Assistant.
Never post your number online. Just because the candy’s free doesn’t mean you should take it. Don’t put your number online unless necessary. If you build it, they will come. If you document it, they will call.
Get Phone Scam Protection from Your Carrier or App Store. Android Headlines broke down the Top 10 Best Android Apps to Block Calls.
Now that you have the legwork taken care of, treat yo’self and know that any money you spend will be through your choice, and your choice alone.**
*I call this Ode to a Rap, by a Child of the 80’s
**Hiya cannot be held responsible for any frivolous spending caused by the elation of being free from scammers.