We continue to get a high volume of calls about phone scams.

We’re hearing from people who’ve been called by fake IRS agents and law enforcement officers, among other things. A recent string of calls featured a scammer claiming to be holding family members for ransom. Fortunately, nobody had actually been kidnapped or threatened.

The scammers are always coming up with new ways to try and prey on those they call. But the best ways to protect yourself from such schemes never change.

  • Never buy a pre-paid credit card or gift card and read that number over the phone.
  • Never trust caller ID information. Scammers can “mask” their numbers to appear as if they’re calling from legitimate government agencies and businesses.
  • Never share account numbers or other personal or financial information.
  • Never agree to pay for traffic tickets or handle outstanding arrest warrants over the phone.
  • Never agree to any offer for which you have to pay a “registration” or “shipping” fee to get a prize or a gift.

Everyone with a phone – mobile or landline – is a potential target. Fraud isn’t limited to race, ethnic back­ground, gender, age, education or income. But some scams seem to concentrate in certain groups. Please share this important information with your older friends and family members who might be targeted because the caller assumes they might live alone, have a nest egg or might be more polite toward strangers.