While email scams tend to get most of the coverage when it comes to protecting consumers from fraud, it’s unfortunately not the only way that criminals try to trick consumers.

Recently, telephones across the nation have been afflicted with scam calls coming from 876 or 809 area codes that use a variety of scams to try and bilk consumers out of their hard earned money.  While the two area codes above are the most prevalent, they are by no means the only ones used.  To protect yourself from spam phone calls, we recommend that you look out for the following situations:

  • Contests or sweepstakes that you didn’t enter: It’s actually against the law to enter people into contests that they didn’t explicitly enter.  If you are called by a company that tells you that you have won a lottery, sweepstakes or any other prize that you didn’t sign up for, do not give them any additional information.  Also, a reputable company will never ask for credit card or personal information, such as your social security number, to collect contest winnings.
  • Family members who have been injured and need money: Scammers use this terrible story to try and get people to give money while in a panic.  If you are called by someone who says that your loved one is hurt, get call back information, hang up and then call your family member.  A hospital will not try to get billing information during an emergency contact notification.
  • Unclaimed goods or land that the user needs to claim in a certain time frame: Any legal proceeding would be handled by legal, notarized documents; not a phone call.  If you are contacted that you have unclaimed property, calling the identified state’s treasury department will allow you to verify the claim.  Again, reputable companies will not ask for payment at the first contact.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of scams, there are some common threads to look out for.

  • Asking for payment or credit card information upfront.
  • A strange company asking for your social security number.
  • An international company.
  • A company that demands a specific type of payment, such as using Western Union.

Have any more questions?  Let us know in the comments section below.

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