Telephone scams are steadily on the rise. Fraudsters are scamming millions of dollars out of unknowing victims and before they realize it's a scam, it's already too late.
In years past it was long distance and magazines telephone solicitors you had to be careful of. Now those same sales tactics are being used to scam millions of dollars out of unknowing victims. The scams come in many flavors but a constant theme is they request you buy prepaid debit cards and call them back with the numbers to settle the debt.
The reason they want you to purchase prepaid cards is there is no way to trace it and once they have that card number you're out and nobody can do anything to get your money back, it's gone. They may be calling you to tell you that you have a bill overdue like water or electric, a warrant for your arrest, owe the IRS money, or your friend or family member is in jail.
Here is what you need to know and what you must share with everyone you know, especially the elderly and those that are more vulnerable to being deceived. Never pay anyone over the phone if they request you pay them by prepaid debit cards. Someone you actually owe money to will not make these demands. Ask them to mail you a bill, but do not give them your address, if you owe them money they already have it.
Be very careful of their scare tactics, you will never be arrested over an unpaid bill. For debts that could cause you to be arrested those agencies will not call you warning you of an upcoming arrest. Never trust the phone number that shows on your phone, faking caller id is on the rise and is known as caller id "spoofing". If you feel there may be legitimacy hang up and use local resources like a telephone book or directory assistance to look up the number and call them back to verify.
Say as little as possible on the telephone call, never give your name, address, personal information and try to avoid using words like "yes" or "ok". Most importantly never buy a prepaid debit card to make a requested telephone payment. The best advice is never answer phone calls from numbers you don't know, even local ones. If it's legitimate they will leave a message and you can call them back.