Dangerous Calls Consumers Should Avoid

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Phone calls that hurt. Photo credit: Getty Images

Phone technology exists to make life easier but fraudsters are increasingly using it to make life a living hell for people. There’s need for consumers to be wary of unknown callers. Scammers are on the prowl trying to get people’s money or personal information over the phone and every phone user is a potential victim. Below are some of the most dangerous scam calls that could endanger your finances

You’ve won huge sums of money in a promo

A caller says your phone number has been selected as a winner in an ongoing promo by a company. As the owner of the phone, you will be paid a large sum of money. However, to get the money, you have to send your account details into which the money will be paid and a processing fee to an agent. Hang up immediately or follow through and lose your money.

You’ve won an anniversary prize

A caller tells you that a company is giving out prizes as part of its anniversary and you have emerged one of the lucky winners. To get this mouth-watering prize delivered to you, however, you must pay a shipping or handling fee. Beware of such calls as they target your money.

Your computer needs attention

You receive a call from someone who claims to be working with Microsoft or other software companies. The caller says your computer is slow, not working properly or has been infected with a dangerous virus. They offer to get it fixed for you at no cost but you need to share your screen with them. They try to guide you on how to go about sharing your screen with them. If you do this, the cybercriminals will infect your computer with malware, encrypt your files and make them inaccessible. You will be compelled to pay a fee to get the code to unlock it. Sometimes you never get the code after paying the ransom and they keep extorting more money from you. Be aware that no software company makes unsolicited calls to computer owners over any issue with their computers. If you receive such calls, decline the offer and then hang up.

We need your personal or financial information to upgrade your records

The caller claims to be calling from your bank or an organisation you are familiar with. They demand for your debit/credit card or bank account information to upgrade your account or prevent a fraud on your account. They may even want you to confirm your personal details.  Never fall into this trap even if they have some of the information and just want to confirm it is correct. No bank, company or government agency will ask for this information through an unsolicited phone call.

Someone close to you has been kidnapped

You are terrified because you have just received a call that someone close to you (spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, in-law, etc.) has been kidnapped. The kidnapper demands a ransom, which must be paid within a few hours or risk losing the family member. You called the ‘kidnapped family member’ several times but the line was switched off. Time was no longer on your side so you quickly gather all you could to send to the ‘kidnappers” only to find out later that there was no kidnapping. These scammers sometimes have insider information or gather same from social media. If you receive such a call, ask them to call you with the kidnapped person’s phone for confirmation and call the supposed victim or someone within the vicinity to help check out.

Someone close to you is involved in an accident

Someone calls you to inform you that your family member has been involved in an accident and you are asked to send money so they can be rushed to the hospital. You are assured they would send the hospital details as soon as they get there. There’s no need to panic. Call the ‘accident victim’ or anyone close to them to confirm.

Someone has mistakenly sent recharge card PIN to your phone

The caller tells you they have mistakenly sent you recharge PIN meant for their family member and begs you to send it back or refrain from loading it. Shortly after you receive the text message. As someone with a kind heart, you did not load the airtime. Another person who impersonates an elderly man calls soon after to thank you for being a nice person. He tells you he would like to pray for you at a special religious ceremony coming up shortly. That is where the manipulation begins. They will give you fake vision to create fear within you. They will ask you to send money for spiritual work. Sometimes, they hypnotize their victims and ask them to come to their location. When you get to their location, you could be kidnapped for ransom or killed for rituals. When you receive such calls, just block the number. Don’t converse with them.

This is a very good investment opportunity you can’t afford to ignore

The caller is promoting an investment opportunity and he tells you it is low-risk and has high returns on investment. They want you to take advantage of it before others begin to rush it. This is a red flag for fraud. Simply decline the offer or investigate further if you think it is genuine.

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