You’re a customer of A T & T, Direct TV or Cricket Wireless. You get a phone call telling you that there’s a great promotion just for their customers. Sounds great, right? Wrong!
There is no promotion. Con artists are spoofing (using names of legitimate companies) to lure you into sending them money. Your phone’s caller I.D. might even show the name of these companies.
You’re asked to buy a gift card from eBay or Amazon (first red flag) to prepay for this great promotional offer. Why would you have to do this? You wouldn’t. Then you are asked to scratch off the back of the gift card and give them the number (second red flag). Again, why? The reason is so they can use that number to buy items for themselves. There is no promotion and you’ve just been scammed.
Legitimate companies will never ask you to buy gift cards for any promotion they are running for their customers. If you get a call from any company offering a special deal, wait! Go to the company’s website and see if any special offer is listed. If you’re still not sure, call the customer service number on the website or contact BBB at email@example.com. Doing so will save you money and from being a victim of a scam. And remember, anything that sounds too good to be true usually is.
Tips to avoid spoofing scams:
§ Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
§ If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
§ Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.”
§ Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
§ If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
§ Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.