3 dangerous phone scams and how to deal with them

Most cybercriminals are stealthy when scamming people with money. They can send mass emails with malicious links or attachments and wait for victims to enter their bank details or personal information.

More aggressive thieves grab the phone. They devise elaborate schemes to trick you into handing over personal information, account IDs or bank details. What’s worse is that you often don’t realize it’s a scam until it’s too late.

Now, a few phone scams are doing the rounds and are very hard to spot. Keep reading to find out how they work and what to do if you receive one of these dangerous calls.

1. Jury Duty Scam

While some people relish the opportunity to be part of a legal proceeding, most dread the call to jury duty. You never know what case you’ll be involved in, and if it turns out to be a high-profile case, you could be stuck in it for weeks.

You can face a hefty fine if you fail to show up for jury duty, which is also the basis of a phone scam. According to Florida police, several people recently received calls saying they had breached jury duty and had to pay a fine. The scammers then asked them to pay a fine in gift cards, which is a dead giveaway.

“The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller will never establish contact with a resident without being invited. A summons to jury duty always comes by mail, not by phone or email,” says the Manatee County Court Clerk.

What to do: If you get a call asking you to pay a fine for missing jury duty, hang up the phone and block the number.

2. Police department number on caller ID

Receiving a phone call from the local police department can be scary. Your mind will automatically jump to the worst-case scenario where someone is hurt or in danger. But the police are warning everyone to be careful when the caller ID says it’s the police department.

The calls would be related to an officer wanting to talk about a warrant. But this is only part of an elaborate scheme to scam you.

“The phone number displayed on caller ID listed the police department’s phone number. However, residents were asked to call back a different number,” the Bridgeport Police Department said on Facebook. There is speculation that the scammers are asking for money to absolve the warrant or to pay a fine.

What to do: If you receive an unsolicited call from the police, do not answer the phone. Instead, find a non-emergency number for the police department and call it to see if they were trying to reach you and why.

3. Fraud by impersonating a police officer

In another phone scam involving the police, the Santa Clara Police Department in California warns that someone was impersonating one of its lieutenants. The victims claim that the caller leaves a voicemail asking them to call back.

When they do, the scammer asks for personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers, and bank account information. Ouch!

What to do: Never give out personal information to anyone over the phone, even if they claim to be from the local police department. Instead, go to the station and provide only the necessary data. If you receive a voicemail described by Santa Clara Police, delete the message and block the number.

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