Tag: Phone Scams

Election season is in full swing, and whether you’re on Team Hillary, Team Trump, or opting out of voting, you’ve realized there’s no escaping the debate. Who is the more qualified candidate? Who will win the election? Presidential campaigns and political opinions will keep flooding you every which way.

Easy solution: Turn off all connection to the media!

In real life: Turn off the tv and miss the latest episode of The Bachelor?! No way! Avoid the internet?! I will not live under a rock! Don’t even get me started with my phone! Aren’t these annoying calls against the law!?

Yes, your phone. How could we ignore the annoying unwanted calls infiltrating your handheld and land line devices?

According to the CTIA, “Telemarketers may not call during certain hours, and they may not use auto dialers and recorded messages to call numbers which will result in charges to the consumer. There are, of course, some exemptions to the TCPA. These exceptions permit businesses to make calls to customers with whom there is an established relationship, as well as calls made on behalf of a non-profit organization, or for non-commercial purposes, which allows pollsters and political campaigns to make such calls.”

There you have it. Scammers have found a loophole (granted, there’s never really been anything that could stop them). As the presidential elections are heating up, there are a number of political campaign scams that you should be aware of:

Re-register Scam
You may not have voted last election, but that doesn’t mean your name has been taken off the list. Scammers are using this tactic to weasel their way into getting your personal information such as your address, email and even your social security number. Remember, never give out personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you have not confirmed who is calling you. To make sure that you are still a registered voter, it’s best that you contact your Board of Elections who will have voter registrations on file.

Campaign Fund Donations
When telemarketers and robocalls are constantly asking you for donations, your immediate reaction is to hang-up. Election season is no exception to this rule. When you receive an unexpected call asking you for money, you are naturally skeptical. Use this same caution when you receive a call claiming to be a political party representative or an election committee member. Even better, if the caller says they’re Hillary or Trump, this is a major red flag. However, some of these calls are legitimate. So, before you sign a check to show your support, it’s important to get the caller’s contact information and confirm the organization or campaign you are supporting so you can donate directly to a viable source.

Verifying voter registration
Just like the re-register scam, scammers are also tricking victims into giving out their personal information in order to verify their voter registration. Their claim is by verifying one’s registration, the voting process will be that much easier.

Election Survey Scam
Who doesn’t want to win a prize, right? Guaranteed, the cost of your personal information isn’t worth it. Scammers know enticing consumers with an incentive like free trips or gift cards is an easy way to make their next victim putty in their hands. While claiming to be conducting a survey on behalf of a political party, scammers will refer to a controversial headline in the news to show credibility. Then, they let you know you’ve won after you provide your credit card number to pay for shipping, taxes, or handling of the “prize.” Be aware that official polling companies will never offer prizes for participating in a survey. They will also never ask for personal or financial information.

Show support and vote by phone or text
Lastly, you may have received text messages similar to these:

Or you may have received calls asking you to vote by phone or text message. These are huge red flags! Despite how advanced technology has become over the years, we still cannot vote via a phone call or text message. If you receive a call requesting you to vote, hang up immediately. Votes can only be cast through mail or in person.

So, the next time you feel like you’re being targeted by the election scam, play it safe. Hang up the phone and do your research on how you can legitimately vote, donate or show support for either presidential candidate.

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Robocalls and phone scams have been a hot topic in the U.S., but just because they’re getting a lot of attention, doesn’t mean our friends across the water have been an exception to unwanted calls.

A scam is a scam and whether it be in the U.S. or the U.K., scammers are always seeking out their next victim.

Some of these may sound familiar, and others may be new to you, but here are some of the top nuisance calls that are affecting the U.K. and how you can avoid being the next victim on the international scammer’s list!

1) Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)
We’ve all seen the commercials or have gotten that call or text claiming, “If you’ve bought (fill in product) or been injured (fill in the type of injury) you can be compensated for (fill in claim).”

But hold it right there.Before you start racking your brain about a possible product or injury that you hope can bring in money, realize that this could be a scam! While some companies are genuine and are looking out for your best interest, most of the time, these fast talking sales people should make you wary. Those who are attempting to sell you PPI (payment protection insurance), which is usually provided with loans, credit cards, store cards, mortgages, car loans, overdrafts, or any type of credit, are quickly talking to reel you in before you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into.

It may sound appealing but don’t fall for it! Your best bet is to avoid engaging with these callers, hang up, and contact your insurance company. If you have any accidents, or product purchase concerns, your insurance company can professionally and safely inform you on how to put a claim on your policy.

2) HMRC Scams
We’ve seen the flood of U.K. tweets on Twitter from consumers who are constantly getting SMiShing messages (where scammers trick consumers through a text that includes a link that will download a virus or other malware onto their phones) or phone calls requesting they verify information, claim tax rebates, or pay unpaid taxes, just like this:


The “so-called HMRC associate” may ask you to:

  • Click on a link
  • Send your account, card, and/or pin number
  • Transfer money to a ‘safe account’ while they try and resolve a problem
  • Call them back on a number they provide

Do not fulfill any of these requests! If you feel you are having issues with your taxes or bank account, check your tax paperwork, call your bank, and find an official number for the HMRC to verify that you are contacting a legitimate number.

3) Spoofing
You get a call, but you don’t recognize the number; however it’s a local number so you think, “It must be someone I know, right?”

Just like how U.S. consumers are being spoofed from across the world, the same is happening to those in the U.K. Scammers are tricking just about everyone by spoofing and making consumers believe a legitimate company or organization is locally contacting them.

If there is any doubt about who could be calling, hang up, and verify the company or organization by calling them directly.

4) IT Scammers
In this day and age, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t work on or own a desktop or laptop computer, and unfortunately, with the mass amounts of users, scammers are using them as easy targets for the IT scam.

Posing as help desk associates from the likes of well-known companies like Microsoft, scammers are contacting consumers to let them know that their computer has a “virus.” But “fortunately” they’ve caught it in time, and for a nominal-fee, they can resolve all of your virus issues if you upload their “anti-virus software”.

First rule of thumb, never download anything unless you actually know what it is! For those who fall victim to this scam, the so-called “anti-virus software” turns out to be spyware, which scammers can then use to find all of your personal details in your computer.

If you receive a call claiming you have a virus, know that IT companies like Microsoft do not have the time to call each and every individual who may have a virus. So when you do get this call HANG UP!

5) Anti-Scam Scam
Don’t be fooled by an unexpected caller who empathizes with scam victims and claims that they’ve got a solution to fight unwanted calls. These unwanted callers are hoping to sell you anti-scam technology, or ask you to renew your TPS (Telephone Preference Service), the U.K.’s version of the U.S.’s Do Not Call list, which is actually free.

Just like every other scam, when a caller is selling you something and requests personal information or payment over the phone, do not give it to them! To verify if an organization or company is legitimate, check them out here.

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According to Pew Internet Research, 68 percent of mobile phone users receive unwanted sales and marketing calls with one-quarter saying they encounter this problem at least a few times or more per week. It’s obvious that call and text spam is becoming more of a nuisance and is a growing problem in the United States.

Scam, spam, and fraudulent calls and texts are sent from a rapidly changing pool of phone numbers, with new ones showing up every minute due to phone spoofing and other tactics that make suspicious activity difficult to identify. In addition to using mobile apps like Hiya, we suggest the following tips to “can the spam”:

· Hang up immediately. If you get a call from a government agency asking for payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will call you randomly looking for payment, even the IRS. The same goes for a call from someone saying you’ve won a sweepstakes; odds are you did not, and if you did, they should send you something in writing.

· Don’t call a suspicious number back. In the case of the “One Ring Scam”, the number looks similar to a number from the United States, but in fact it’s from the Caribbean and is not legitimate. These scammers use phone numbers that issue additional charges to the bill of the incoming caller – most of the time consumers are unaware of the charges and they can add up very quickly.

· Don’t provide personal identification. Avoid giving out your credit card information or any specific personal identification, like a social security number, to a caller that you don’t personally know, even if you are familiar with the business they say they are from. Recent scams include calls that spoof energy companies and Microsoft technical support.

· Do not pay money up front if you have been contacted about winning a contest or being accepted for a new insurance policy. For legitimate offers, an upfront payment is generally not required.

· Report suspicious numbers to help others avoid threats. Hiya gives consumers the ability to block unwanted numbers, which provides an auto-blocker to keep known scam numbers from ever ringing through again. This helps provide a stronger database for a safer and secure phone experience.

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