Stop Taking the Call
November 30, 2022
We hear it too often - people get unsolicited phone calls, and instead of hanging up, the person answering the phone decides to engage and play along with fraudsters and usually lies when asked questions. It might feel good to retaliate and “mess with them” or see how much fake information you can pass their direction before they hang up on you. The scammers you are messing with are a sophisticated network of con artists with no ethics and years of experience; their goal is to steal from you.
Do not engage in unsolicited phone calls. Any conversation with these criminals builds into their database about you and the phone number they just called. If you answer the phone, they are listening for noises in the background, such as your favorite TV show or music, kids playing, dogs barking, or characteristics of any activity they are hearing. This seemingly innocent information empowers them to target you strategically with future, psychologically relevant variations, particular angles or a “uniquely you” sales pitch that they want you to believe so they can manipulate you into action. A scam is a story and one that you will believe. The more you engage with them, the more practice they have in developing what story will work when they want to steal from you.
Reminder: If something is important, people can leave a message, then you can choose whether to call them back. We encourage you to use the phone number on the company’s website rather than the number that called you.
Losing money and falling for these scams is embarrassing – especially if the con artists have manipulated a past trauma or psychologically influenced you. It may take time to tell others about this deception or even touch on the outlining details about what made you fear the potential actions of these evil human beings.
If you are comfortable sharing what happened, the Federal Trade Commission encourages you to report information so they can share your report with more than 3,000 law enforcement officers. They will not be able to resolve the issue, but your report helps them investigate and identify fraud, scams and bad business practices. To report your situation – please visit https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/