Recognizing Scams and Protecting Yourself
Roseville, Calif.- More of us are working from home and spending more time on our cellphones, laptops, and electronic devices. Phone scammers and cyber criminals are finding creative ways to steal your information, use your personal information, or get you to send them money.
Here are a few ways scammers try to target people, and how to avoid being scammed:
Call from a number like yours or from a number with the same area code.
- Do not answer calls from unrecognized numbers – let the call go to voicemail.
- If you do answer the call, do not give out any personal information
Automated recording calls or “robocalls” offering credit cards, loans, payday loans, credit card protection, or to address your expiring car warranty.
- Do not return calls to any phone numbers left by the recording.
- If you did not request the service they’re offering, do not engage with the caller.
Urgent requests for charitable gifts or support for charitable causes.
- Do not send money or give out your personal information.
- If you want to donate, initiate the donation, and contact the charity directly. Many charities are listed with the federal Franchise Tax Board. Their current exemption status can be checked on the FTB website.
In addition to recognizing phone scams, you can take steps to minimize the number of calls you get. Register your home landline or cellphone numbers into the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce telemarketer calls. If you do get a call you don’t recognize or have confirmed to be from a scammer, use your cellphone’s call blocking feature. This is your best defense against unwanted calls from a specific number. Your cellphone may also offer a feature to send all calls not in your contacts list, straight to voicemail.
You can always report phone scams, whether you’ve lost money or any of your personal information.
Reporting phone scams
- ReportFraud.ftc.gov is the link to the Federal Trade Commission’s Fraud Reporting website. Use this site if you’ve lost money to a scammer.
- Use DoNotCall.gov if you want to report a call and did not lose money.
- If you’ve lost money or had your personal information stolen by a scammer, file an online crime report with the Roseville Police Department.
Recognizing there are bad actors out there who are working hard every day to scam you out of money is the first step to protecting yourself. We encourage you to share this information with older adults who may not be as savvy with their cell phones or computers. We know scammers specifically target seniors who are all-too-often victimized.