Au­thor­i­ties say to just hang up on un­known call­ers to avoid scams

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - From staff re­ports

A call al­ways seems to come in at in­con­ve­nient times. It can be dur­ing an im­por­tant meet­ing, or a spe­cial event where phones are sup­posed to be on silent or vi­brate, and usu­ally go off with loud rings in an other­wise quiet place.

In­evitably, the call isn’t even im­por­tant. Some calls how­ever can cause more trou­ble for those who an­swer and get roped in, lead­ing peo­ple whether lo­cal or in dis­tant cities across the coun­try down a rab­bit hole of short and long cons.

One of the lat­est is a record­ing that tells the caller “lo­cal po­lice have charges out against you...” and con­tin­ues on to in­struct those re­ceiv­ing the voice­mail to con­tact an out-of-area num­ber.

Lo­cal po­lice from sev­eral agen­cies warn to ig­nore the mes­sage, and take com­mon sense into con­sid­er­a­tion when re­ceiv­ing calls or mes­sages from num­bers not nor­mally called.

The eas­i­est thing to do if a call comes in from an un­rec­og­nized num­ber, just let it go to voice­mail. Those are easy enough to delete. Re­cov­er­ing from iden­tity theft or loss of money through frauds con­ducted over the phone are headaches worth avoid­ing.

The mes­sage re­ceived about al­leged charges against the caller isn’t a new scheme. Sev­eral times, record­ings and live peo­ple alike have tried to im­per­son­ate of­fi­cials from lo­cally or the area try­ing to get call­ers to be­lieve they are in trou­ble, and just pay­ing a “fine” with a pre­paid card will clear their name.

An­other ex­am­ple are “phish­ing” schemes, where scam­mers pre­tend to be tax of­fi­cials and get sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion from those they’ve called claim­ing prob­lems with re­turns, but end up with all they need to open bank ac­counts, credit cards and more in iden­tify fraud schemes that claim bil­lions from con­sumers across the globe.

The eas­i­est way to avoid any prob­lems is to also not hand out sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion over the phone un­less the per­son on the other end of the line is call­ing from a known, trusted num­ber.

Find more tips and in­for­ma­tion about scam calls at www. con­sumer.ftc.gov/ar­ti­cles/0076phone-scams.

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