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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

9 Phone Scams You Need To Watch Out For

Internet and email scams have grabbed the headlines in recent months, but many of you have forgotten there are many phone scams making the rounds. Like Internet scams, phone scams are designed to trick you into handing out personal financial data allowing cyber-criminals to make a quick money grab. You may think that you don't have much to steal, but these acts performed to many unwitting people across the globe can add up to a lot of srilla (slang for money). What should you know? Well, here are a list of the most popular scams followed with some common sense tips to keep you safe.

The Microsoft Tech Support Scam. This is one of the oldest phone scams going around. The fraudster pretends to be a Microsoft employee, calls you up saying that your computer has a virus. The fake technician will ask for remote access to your computer to fix it. This will give them access to any sensitive data you have stored on your PC. The scammer may also try to convince you to buy software that will fix your non-existent PC problems and to share your credit card info over the phone.

The Smishing Scam. SMiShing scams are similar to email phishing scams. You get a message from your bank or service provider asking for personal or financial data. However, the SMiShing is really a message from a scam artist. While most people are familiar with email phishing scams, they're less skeptical when receiving SMiShing messages because most text messages come from people we know.

The IRS Scam. The story is that you owe the IRS a certain amount of money and you have to pay up immediately to avoid an arrest and going to jail. The fraudster demands you provide your credit card info over the phone, which is then used to drain your bank account.

The Department of Homeland Security Scam. Here’s how it works. A scammer calls you and pretends to work for the US Immigration office and alters the caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from the number mentioned above. You’ll be tricked into thinking that you have been a victim of an identity theft and must verify your personal data over the phone.

The FBI Scam. With this scam, the scammer is trying to scare you by pretending to be an FBI agent, saying that you’re in a lot of trouble. You’ll be accused of breaking the law in one way or another and then demanded to pay a fee right away. If you don’t, the FBI will come to your door, arrest you, and take you to jail.

The Call Back Scam. The scammer will dial your number, wait for your phone to ring, and then quickly hang up. Alternatively, the fraudster just might wait until you actually answer before hanging up.The problem is that the phone number you call back is actually international and you’ll be charged a premium connection fee and rate.

The “Can you hear me?” Scam. The scammer calls you and as soon as you pick up and say hello, you’ll hear the question “Can you hear me?” repeated a few times.If you’re like most people, you’ll just say “Yes” without thinking too much about it. The problem is that the fraudster actually recorded your response and might be able to use it against you. The scammer likely already has your financial details that can be used to make purchases with. If you dispute the charge, there’s a recording of you saying yes that makes it look like you have authorized the transaction.

The Bank Scam. The fraudster will call you up claiming to work for the bank you do business with. The most common story is that something is wrong with your account and that to stay on the safe side of things, you have to confirm some basic information. You’ll be asked about your credit card information and maybe even the login details for your online bank. If you give the fraudster all the info requested, you’ll soon realize that your bank account has been drained.

The Free Vacation Scam. You get a call from someone saying that you entered a raffle and were selected as the winner. The main prize is a free vacation to some tropical island for your whole family that’s valued at a few thousand dollars. However, to get the prize, you have to pay a standard tax of “just” a few hundred dollars. Of course, after you pay up, you realize that the whole thing was a scam.

Here's How You Can protect yourself. The first and most important rule is NEVER give personal and financial data to anyone you don't know.. Banks, government agencies, and other institutions will never ask for your personal details over the phone, email or via text messages. You should also try to stay calm during these calls. Internet scams are socially engineered which means most of these criminals will try to scare you by saying that you did something wrong and will be arrested, while others want to get you excited by offering free stuff such as a vacation. Being scared or excited can cloud your judgment and make you do things you normally wouldn’t do.

Have you been a victim of a phone scam? How did you recover. Leave a comment in the section below or drop me a line.

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at

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