Phone Scams: 5 Reasons to Not Answer That Call or Text

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Posted on 07/23/2014

Your phone rings. It's a number you don't recognize. Do you automatically answer? Or do you let it go to voicemail? How you respond could determine whether you end up getting scammed or not. Here are five reasons why you may not want to pick up.

Spoofing Numbers
Using a technique called "spoofing" international scammers can call your cell phone and make it look like it's coming from an area code in your community. The caller will then tell you they can lower your credit card interest rates, but in order to do that they'll need - you guessed it - your credit card number.


Survey Texts
Have you ever received a text message asking for your feedback in exchange for a gift card? If you fall for this scam you'll likely be led to believe that the gift card is "out of stock." Instead your reward becomes a weight loss gimmick or magic wrinkle cream. And at some point you will be asked to provide personal info like your address and credit card number.


A Call From Yourself
Some scammers are using technology that makes a call look like it's coming from your own cell phone number. If you see yourself calling you may be just curious enough to answer. And it's also a way to ensure that the number isn't blocked. But don't answer because the person on the other end will be a professional scam artist, according to the Better Business Bureau.


Ring and Run
Ring and Run scams have been around a while, but they seem to be making a comeback. A call will come in from what seems like a domestic area code. After one ring the caller will hang up. Curiosity may prompt you to call the number back to see who it was, but if you do you'll reach a premium service number which can charge you as much as $20 for the first minute, according to Forbes.com. Area codes to watch out for include 473, 809, 284, 649 and 876.


Deactivated Credit or Debit
The Better Business Bureau says another recent scam involves text message or automated phone calls that claim your credit, debit or ATM card has been deactivated. In order to reactivate it you'll be asked to call a customer service center and confirm information. But if you do you could be tricked into handing over sensitive data. Instead only call your bank using the numbers provided on the back of your card.


By Alison Storm


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