Beware of fraudulent phone calls

Beware of fraudulent phone calls

Kelly Smith

A few weeks ago, I was interrupted from my daily activities by a call from an unknown number. Curious, I picked up and answered. 

I was greeted by a man with a heavy foreign accent whose name I couldn’t understand. He said he works with the federal government and that I had won a $9,000 grant for having a clean criminal record. After asking me to confirm that my record was in fact clean, he asked how I wanted my money delivered. Although it sounded amazing, I couldn’t help but be suspicious. 

Our national debt is increasing exponentially each year, and the government decides to give people nine grand just because they happen to have no convictions? Curious, I played along, acting as if I was interested but refusing to give any personal info. Eventually, he gave me an ID code and told me to call another number and tell them my code to get the money. Rather than doing so, I Googled this grant offer and found countless articles that have confirmed this offer to be a scam. Apparently, this guy has been reported to hang up on people who have voiced their suspicions.

This is a crazy and sometimes deceitful world we live in. There are always people looking for money and/or personal info. In fact, there’s been an issue with myBanner recently that we’ve all been informed of. Additionally, in some of my social media accounts, I’ve seen notifications from the site informing me that there have been reports of fraudulent calls and emails asking for personal information, reminding me that they will never ask for such information.

We’ve all been told not to give any personal information, such as address and banking information, to people who happen to contact us out of the blue. 

Why is it so important to continue reminding us? Because some frauds cloak themselves better than others. They might sound innocent enough. Although no prevention method is perfect, the old saying “too good to be true” typically wins out in scenarios like this. I mean, if you received a call or email saying that you won $1 million for being good to charity, how would you react?

Another question we have to ask ourselves is how to respond. Especially in the case of phone calls, what do we do when we’re mid-conversation with the person and we have suspicions? Do we just hang up? Do we tell them we believe they’re lying? Do we try and turn the tables on them? 

I mentioned how I finished my call acting convinced and then disregarded it upon discovering it was a scam. I read about people who, with this same scam, voiced their suspicions and were met with a vulgar goodbye. One person in particular began subtly interrogating him on his so-called career until he hung up. I really can’t say what the best way is to confront these people. 

I’m not necessarily saying to interrogate every new person who calls you. Just be careful with what information you allow your caller to have. Don’t give out any personal information. If someone is asking for personal information, let your common sense decide on how the conversation should be handled. Stay alert.