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Scam and spam calls can be extremely annoying, especially if you’re getting them several times a week or even multiple times each day. Ignoring calls can help, but you could be missing legitimate phone calls that actually require your attention. So, what should you do? How can you separate legitimate calls from scam calls? Keep on reading to find out how to correctly identify a scam call.
Strange phone number
The most obvious sign is a strange phone number you’ve never seen before. If you’re not expecting a call, then seeing an unknown number on your phone screen is a definite red flag. However, not all calls from numbers you don’t recognise are scam calls. In fact, some of them may actually be important calls you shouldn’t ignore. To find out the truth without having to pick up the phone and potentially talk to a scammer, you should use Unknown Phone to read reviews from other users about strange phone numbers. By typing in a number (e.g. a call from 08000521251), you can instantly see if it’s rated as dangerous or genuine.
Unexpected international calls
Another red flag is receiving an unexpected international call. Any relevant, legitimate phone calls should be coming from your country of residence, so you can safely ignore any international calls unless you’re sure that you’re expecting one. Even if you’re curious, it’s best to ignore the call because it’s a common scam (called ‘Wangiri’) to call people repeatedly on an international number with the aim that they’ll call back, which will incur expensive fees.
If you ever answer the phone and just hear an automated, robotic voice, it’s safe to assume it’s a scam call. Hang up immediately and block the number.
Asking for personal details
If a call is from a legitimate company or organisation, such as your bank, they should already know your personal information and account details. If the person on the phone asks you to introduce yourself or give them sensitive information (e.g. bank account details or passwords), they’re most likely a scammer and you should hang up immediately. Contact the company or organisation directly if you’re still concerned about your account.
Urgency or threats
Another telltale sign of a phone scam is the creation of a sense of urgency or the use of threats. Scammers want to put you in a state of panic where you’ll blindly follow their instructions, so they try to achieve this by telling you an account or your money has been compromised or that you’re facing a fine or legal trouble. If you feel like you’re being intimidated and pushed to act immediately, or if the person on the phone becomes aggressive when you don’t comply, you’re being scammed.
Too good to be true
On the other hand, the scammer could try a different approach and attempt to fool you by making unrealistic promises, hoping that you’ll be too excited to think about the situation calmly. For example, they may tell you that you’ve won a prize and you need to hand over your personal information immediately to claim it. This is especially suspicious if you’ve not entered any competitions recently.
These are some of the most common signs of a phone scam. If you ever identify these signs when answering a phone call, remember to hang up immediately and block the number.