Phone Scam Alert! Have you ever answered the phone to find that the other end was silent? BE AWARE of this phone scam!
These calls are referred to as ‘robocalls,’ which are automated telephone calls that call thousands of numbers. When the other end of the line is silent, it could actually be an automated computer system that’s calling for the purpose of building a list of humans to target for theft. These silent calls are testing phone numbers to see which ones have a human to pick up and talk to someone. When you answer, or even just make a sound, the computer system saves your phone number as a target. You then receive a call trying to gather information about your bank or credit card account with a prerecorded voice that gives you instructions such as “[we’re] calling with an important message about your debit card. If you are the cardholder, please stay on the line and press 1. Otherwise please have the cardholder call us at 1-877…” That number then leads you to another system that will ask for information such as your birth date, Social Security number and your card number and PIN.
BBB provides tips for dealing with silent phone calls:
- Screen your phone calls. Anytime a number calls you that you don`t recognize, let it go to your voicemail. Anyone calling for a legitimate purpose will leave you a message so that you can call them back. You`ll also be able to avoid answering unwanted calls.
- Just hang up. If you answer a robocall, hang up immediately. If you`re given an option to ‘press 1 for more information or press 2 to be removed from the list,’ ignore the instructions and hang up.
- Do not give out any information over the phone. Be leery of anyone that calls you asking for your Social Security number, birth date or credit card/ bank account information.
- Don’t verify any information over the phone that a potential scammer may already have on you – such as date of birth, address, last four digits of your SSN or Credit Card number.
- Call ‘THEM’ back. If you receive an unsolicited call and the person on the other line claims to be from your bank or credit card company, get the person’s name and then call back using the published number for your bank or the one on the back of your credit card.
- Don’t believe the number showing on your caller id. These numbers can be easily ‘spoofed,’ or deliberately falsified.