If you haven’t heard the term “spoofing” it may be time to learn. It’s the latest trick from scammers who use software to make you think you’re receiving a local call, assuming you may be more likely to answer.
“I get calls all the time and they’re scam calls and they come from 912 (my area code) and 897 (the first three digits of my phone number), said 73-year- old Robert Railey.
“When you get a call like that you think it’s your neighbor calling,” he said.
And that is just the point. Again, scammers assume someone like Mr. Railey is more likely to pick up his phone if he believes it’s someone he knows. And for crooks – getting you on the phone may be the first step to stealing personal information or getting you to give up some cash.
Railey says he’s getting more scam calls than ever and his phone sometimes feels like a weapon being used against him
“Over the last couple of days I’ve spent over two hours on the phone with my cable company because I got what I presumed to be a scam call,” he told me.
And there are lots of other types of calls, including supposed calls from Medicare which Railey says are always scams.
“A lot of old people are being ripped off,” he says..
Railey thinks he’s pretty aware but worries about other seniors who may not be paying attention to popular scams.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS Scam) – Someone calls and pretends you owe back taxes. YOU DON’T.
Jury Duty Scam – Someone calls saying you missed jury duty and you owe a fine. DON’T PAY.
Medicare Card Scam – you don’t have to pay to get a new card.
Grandparent Scam – this is especially concerning because crooks call up an older person, usually in the middle of the night. The caller says they are a grandchild and are in trouble and need the senior to send money. Don’t agree to do this. If you think this might actually be your grandchild, hang up and call your relative directly to find out if they just called you.
Remember, in any scam, the point is to get money quickly and money that cannot be traced. That is why scammers always ask for money transfers like Western Union. Now they are asking for prepaid cards of all kinds. Never agree to provide money in this way.
The Better Business Bureau also advises that if you don’t recognize a number, it’s okay to simply not answer. Officials say the phone is for your convenience, not someone else’s. They also say that most often if the call is for a legitimate purpose that the caller will leave you a message and then you can decide if you want to speak to them by calling back the number.