Avoid phone call scams during the shutdown
During times of uncertainty, scammers try to take advantage of people who are frightened or concerned about their financial security. One of the major ways they reel in their prey is through phone calls. It’s important to acknowledge that your organization can be vulnerable to these scams. Here are some important guidelines for you and your organization to follow:
Never share personal financial information over the phone.
If you’re not sure whether a caller is legitimate, hang up. Organizations with which you do business (such as Internet providers and utility companies) should not be calling you to ask for money. If a caller claims to be from one of these companies, tell them you will call back with the number you have on file.
Only donate to a charitable organization which you have researched.
Our faltering economy has affected many people financially, and some scammers prey on their victims’ giving nature. You may be interested in helping local organizations that help those who are recently unemployed. However, never give money to a charity that solicits you through a phone call. If you’re interested in donating, hang up and learn about that organization through its website.
If you have caller ID, don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
And even if you do think you recognize the caller, be wary. Phone scammers have programmed their call generators to show a false telephone number and name to increase the chance you will pick up the phone. So, if a call appears to be from U.S. Bank, it might not be.
You can’t buy a coronavirus (COVID-19) “cure.”
Anyone who claims to have a product that prevents or cures the disease is a fraud. Moreover, if a vaccine or treatment does become available, companies will not be selling it over the phone.
Never respond to threatening phone calls or voicemail messages.
Scammers like to scare their victims into giving them personal information out of fear of retribution. For example, they may pose as a financial institution calling for past due bills and threatening action if the bills aren’t paid. Right now, most of our nation is homebound, which increases the level of fear. Legitimate companies do not make intimidating phone calls.
It is always best to be wary whenever you answer a call from someone who wants you to take action. When in doubt, hang up.