In the age where text rules, almost any phone call could be deemed “spooky” – especially the ones from unknown numbers. So let’s dig into the scariest scams going around to keep you from getting creeped out.
1. Are you afraid of the dark?
Some scammers like to pose as utility companies and threaten to shut off your lights. As scary as it would be to lose electricity on Halloween, most utility companies will send word of your impending doom via mail before they try to contact you by phone (if ever at all). If you’re not sure, hang up and call the electricity company directly.
2. Things that go *ring* in the night.
Did you know that telemarketers have quiet hours? That’s right – they’re not supposed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. YOUR time. Scam callers don’t follow the rules, but if you get what you believe is a legitimate sales, charity or promotional call after hours, you can report it to the FTC. Sweet dreams!
3. The disappearing money trick
Scammers have lots of ways to grab your cash, but one of the most famous is asking you to pay “fees” or “taxes” on prizes you have won. Once the money is gone, so are the scammers…and you’ll be left high and dry without that free cruise. Bummer.
4. Is this your card?
Paying your dues with an iTunes card? It’s not magic – it’s a scam. If anyone calls and demands payment via a gift card, they’re just looking to get away without a trace. Legitimate businesses want legitimate money – period.
5. Fear Factor
Scammers rely on two things to get you to cave: rushing you into a decision and playing into your fears. They may pretend to be a grandson in trouble and needing bail, or a medical official requiring authorization (aka, social security numbers!) to operate on a family member. Don’t be fooled by these tactics!
6. The calls are coming from the inside of the house!
There’s nothing more intriguing than being called from your own number! Scammers know you’re more likely to pick up an unknown call from an eerily similar number – or even your own. Don’t let curiosity get the cat, though. They’re just spoofing lookalike numbers to try and catch your attention.
7. Mummy’s the Word.
Like we mentioned earlier, scammers love to scare you silly. Some call posing as IRS agents, threatening to lock you away if you don’t pay your taxes (with iTunes gift cards, of course). They’ll even say they’ll report you to the police if you ask to put them on hold or tell them you’re going to call someone else! The real IRS is not a bunch of mobsters – and they like to make first contact by mail, FYI.