Emergency Preparedness Tip of the Week: Telephone Scams

Dealing with telephone scams is important to protect yourself from fraudsters who attempt to trick or deceive you over the phone. Here are some steps you can take to deal with telephone scams:

  1. Be cautious and skeptical: Develop a healthy skepticism when receiving unsolicited phone calls, especially those asking for personal or financial information. Remember that legitimate organizations will not ask for sensitive information over the phone.
  2. Hang up immediately: If you suspect a call is a scam, hang up the phone without providing any personal or financial details. Do not engage in conversation or press any numbers as instructed by the caller.
  3. Do not provide personal information: Avoid sharing personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account details, credit card information, or passwords, over the phone, unless you initiated the call and are confident about the legitimacy of the recipient.
  4. Verify the caller's identity: If the caller claims to represent a company or organization, ask for their name, department, and a callback number. Hang up and independently verify the legitimacy of the caller by contacting the organization directly using a verified phone number from their official website or a trusted source.
  5. Register your number on the Do Not Call Registry: In some countries, such as the United States, you can register your phone number on the national Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. This won't eliminate all scam calls, but it can reduce the frequency.
  6. Use call-blocking tools: Check if your phone service provider offers call-blocking features that allow you to block specific numbers or filter out potential scam calls. Additionally, there are mobile apps available that can help identify and block scam calls.
  7. Report the scam: If you receive a suspicious call, report it to the appropriate authorities. In the United States, you can report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Other countries may have their own reporting agencies or hotlines.
  8. Educate yourself: Stay informed about the latest phone scams and tactics used by fraudsters. This knowledge can help you recognize and avoid potential scams in the future.

Remember, scammers are constantly evolving their tactics, so it's crucial to stay vigilant and protect your personal and financial information. If in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution and hang up.