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Avoiding Phone Scams

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You get a call from a number you don’t recognize. The caller claims to be a law enforcement officer and informs you that your loved one has been arrested and is trying to make bond. You are told that if you send money to someone, they can bond out. Truth is, it’s a scam. Your loved one hasn’t been arrested. 

Another recent scam that has emerged is a call from someone claiming to be a court official. You are told that you missed court or jury duty and that you need to send money somewhere or else face jail time. Truth is, it’s also a scam. 

Before you give your personal identification to the person on the phone claiming to be with the IRS or some other government agency claiming that you owe money and face jail, here are some rules of thumb to consider:

  1. Never provide any information on the phone without verifying who you are talking with. Always ask for a name, address, number, website, etc. Ask for the ability to call them back. Search for the real number and address of the agency and call them. Verify that the name of the caller. 
     
  2. Never give your identity information over the phone. This includes credit card information and social security information.
     
  3. Never give money to anyone based on a phone call without verification. 

Again, always call the agency first before doing anything. If you are accused of a crime by the caller, then simply say that you want to consult with a lawyer before talking further. 

Most people are trusting and that trust makes for an easy target for scams and cons. When faced with these sorts of calls, always ask yourself, if this how this agency would conduct business? Would a court tell you you’ve missed jury duty without you getting a letter saying you had jury duty? Again, always get information on who you are talking to. If they don’t want to give you their name, number, badge number, or agency number, then that’s a good sign that something isn’t right. Lastly, when in doubt, contact a lawyer for a consultation and assistance.

Franz N. Borghardt

Franz Borghardt