Since phone scams are so unbelievably prevalent in this day and age, it comes as no surprise that we as a people are all becoming a little bit weary. While the circumstances that have caused this are unfortunate, there is some benefit to it when it means protecting ourselves and our finances. Given the fact that just about anyone can run a quick Google search on their own name and find a phone number online, you can safely assume that any stranger in the world has access to that same information. This can make it incredibly difficult to know the difference between someone legitimate reaching out to you and a scammer calling to steal your money. Knowing how to identify a phone scam can save you quite a headache.
They say that when someone tells you who they are, you should listen. The biggest indication that you are dealing with a scammer is if they immediately jump into an obviously rehearsed request built upon asking you for something. If you answer and someone starts immediately asking personal questions or giving you reasons why they need you to give them money, you are more than likely dealing with a scammer.
Another common trait seen in phone scammers is that they will focus on making you feel special. These people will focus on saying something that somehow paints you as their only hope, be it by using emotional pleas like saying that not enough people are donating or by telling you that you are special in some way. A common scam is telling people that they have won something special like a trip or are being recognized for something. If it feels like they are buttering you up, they just might be.
The biggest red flag when it comes to identifying a phone scam is the use of aggressive, coercive, or threatening language. As a last resort, phone scammers are known to try to frighten people into compliance. The tragic reality is that this technique is incredibly effective. They might pretend to be a police officer, accuse you of not caring about a cause, or blatantly demand that you comply with their demands or risk harm or legal action. When you decline to give information or money and someone responds with any kind of sharp or threatening language, you should immediately end the call. Under no circumstances will a professional become angry with you over the phone, legal matter or otherwise.
Recognizing the signs that someone is attempting to scam you is an excellent way to protect yourself when these calls come in. Since the average person receives calls like this frequently, it is important to be able to realize when you are dealing with someone who is being sincere and when you are dealing with a fraudster who is looking to steal your money or personal information. If you notice any of these indications during a phone call, end the call immediately, and absolutely never give them what they ask for. If it seems even remotely plausible, follow up through appropriate channels at a later time.