Why You Can’t Trust Phone Calls You Think You Should Trust

“Call from 877-382-4357? Hang up,” warns the Federal Trade Commission. Seems that phone number — better known as 877-FTC-HELP, the agency’s go-to hotline to report scams — is another example in the never-ending plague of spoofing, the practice of deliberately displaying a false number (and sometimes name) on the recipient’s caller ID. The goal of scammers using this tried-and-true telephone trickery is to present a phone number that can be trusted, so recipients answer the phone. “Once you start talking,” …

Most Likely to Be Scammed? Not Seniors, but Millennials

Gray-haired folk have long held “most scammed” status, but it may be time to pass on that unfortunate legacy. While the retirement-aged are targeted most often, data increasingly shows that it’s millennials — our children and grandchildren ages 18 to 35 — who are most likely to lose money to fraudsters. Consider these recent findings: Phone scams. About 1 in 10 American adults fell victim to phone scams last year, losing an estimated $9.5 billion in total. Leading the pack …

Fear by Phone: High Anxiety for You, High Profits for Scammers

The telephone is a scammer’s best weapon, used in 77 percent of money-netting schemes, according to the government’s latest scam-tracking data. The best ammo: fear, and here’s how it bangs best for the biggest bucks: “Official” intimidation. The most profitable and most played schemes have fraudsters posing from a government agency — Medicare, the Social Security Administration, the FBI, local police and, of course, the IRS. (Until it was busted last year, one India-based ring of IRS impostors was netting …