NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Avoiding the Scammers

Avoiding the Scammers


          A riddle for this week’s column.  Their tactics change as frequently as the wind in ND; they call at all hours of the day and night and continue to talk over your objections.  Any guesses?  The latest phone scammer of course.  Their goal though is no joke – separating your money from you for their benefit.  How to avoid falling victim to a phone scam?  Consider the following tips.

          Listen carefully when you receive a phone solicitation. The more you can find out beforehand, the less likely you’ll be to fall victim to a fraud.

           If you’re suspicious, tell the caller not to call back, then hang up. The longer you stay on the line with dishonest telemarketers, the better their chances are of finding a way to convince you that they are sincere.                 Don’t let them pressure you. If the offer sounds interesting, get all the facts, hang up and talk it over with friends. Fraudulent telemarketers try to make sales as quickly as possible. They’ll use every possible technique to get you to agree immediately. They often say that the offer is only good for that day, that the price is going up soon or that the supply of their product is limited. Don’t fall for it. If the deal is legitimate, you don’t need to rush.

Ask them to send you more information. This will give you more time to review the offer. When the information arrives, read it carefully. If you never receive anything, you can be pretty sure that the telemarketer was trying to cheat you.

Guard your credit card number and expiration date. A dishonest telemarketer can use your number not just to charge you for whatever is being offered, but to make unauthorized charges on your card and make counterfeit cards.

Don’t give anyone your Social Security number. A Social Security number can enable a crook to open credit accounts or otherwise establish credit in your name. They then can use the accounts to run up huge bills.

 Be cautious about giving to charities. Many legitimate charities raise money by phoning potential donors, but con artists also like to take advantage of people’s generosity. They’ll use a name that sounds like a well-known charitable organization and trick you into making a donation that ends up in their pockets.

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