As long as the world has people with money, there will be scammers who use fraudulent tactics to try and separate you from your hard-earned cash.
Here are some of the more recently-used methods that scammers are using to try and lay claim to your money.
- One-time passcode (OTP) scams. Many legitimate companies use two-factor authentication as an added layer of security to access customer accounts. OTP scams are now attempting to trick you into providing the two-factor authentication code sent from a legitimate company by pretending to be a customer service representative helping you with your account.
- Robocall scams. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Some robocalls are from legitimate companies. But if someone is already breaking the law by calling you without permission, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
- Remote computer access. A new form of fraud involves you getting tricked into giving remote access of your computer to a telemarketer while you’re logged in to your bank’s website. The telemarketer detects your keystrokes to learn your username and password, then triggers your screen to go black while logging back in to your checking account.
How to protect yourself from scams
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission on protecting yourself from telemarketing scams.
- Always verify. Confirm the identity of the person who is asking for any sort of information from you. In the case of OTP scams, you shouldn’t need to share a one-time password with anyone.
- Hang up. Even if it’s not a scammer calling, if a company is calling you illegally, why take the chance it is a scam. When you get a robocall, don’t press any numbers, it might lead to more robocalls.
- Install a call block. Scammers can use the internet to make calls from all over the world. They don’t care if you’re on the National Do Not Call Registry. That’s why your best defense against unwanted calls is call blocking. Which type of call-blocking (or call-labeling) technology you use will depend on the phone. So see what services your phone carrier offers, and then look online for reviews. For mobile phones, you can also check out the reviews for different call-blocking apps in your online app store.
- Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID. So even if it looks like it’s the Social Security Administration calling, it could be a scammer calling from anywhere in the world.