Detecting Phone Scams

Detecting Phone Scams

It’s good to be aware of phone scams when you answer the phone. Although many scams are performed online, phone scams are more common than you may realize.  Telephone fraud can take many different forms and phone scams can even be used in conjunction with information obtained on the internet or other forms of fraud. Unfortunately, some types of phone scams even target senior citizens.

Here are a few local examples of recent phone scams. In Clackamas County, fraudulent callers asked for financial information using a hijacked caller ID from a business in Indiana.  A similar report from Eugene indicates local business numbers were used in phone scams in an attempt to solicit personal information including financial info. Last fall, an 87 year old woman was scammed out of $9,500 after she received a call from a person impersonating her 12 year old grandson. A couple in Oak Grove who had lost $4,000 in a previous scam were able to alert police and avoid being duped again when they received a suspicious call from Canada. These are just a handful of stories that represent a much larger threat.

There are some simple measures you can take to prevent getting caught in a phone scam. One easy step is to register your non-business landline or mobile phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry . If you’re an Oregon resident, you will “be protected by both the federal and state “no call” laws thanks to the Oregon Department of Justice. If you believe that there has been a breach of the “no call” list, please report the incident to the Oregon Department of Justice or the National Do Not Call Registry.

In general, you should be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, especially if the caller asks for any kind of money or payments, personal information, or has an offer that sounds too good to be true. A reputable caller will be able to provide information on their company and product, and will not pressure you into any decisions. If you receive a fraudulent phone call, you can report it your local authority, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Reporting “no call” violations and attempted phone scams will help with prevention efforts.

The best thing to do is to educate yourself on the different types of phone fraud and how to recognize them.  The Federal Trade Commission has a portion of their site dedicated to common types of phone fraud with tips on how to avoid them. The FBI provides information on general scams and safety. Oregon residents can also sign up for the Oregon Scam Alert Network to get updates on emerging scams and fraud.

If you missed our last blog post, read it here to learn how you can be scammed right on your phone bill and what to do if you get “crammed.”

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