7 red flags to spot a scam caller

Are you tired of receiving those annoying scam calls? Sometimes, a couple of times a day? Well, you’re not alone. Scam callers are becoming increasingly clever, making distinguishing between a legitimate call and a potential scam harder. But fear not because we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll reveal seven red flags to help you spot a scam caller and protect yourself from falling victim to their schemes. From suspicious numbers to aggressive tactics, we’ll show you what to watch out for so you can avoid being scammed.

Red flag: unsolicited calls

One of the most apparent signs of a scam call is when you receive an unsolicited call from an unknown number. Scammers often use automated systems to dial numerous random numbers in the hope of finding vulnerable targets. They may claim to represent a government agency, a financial institution, or a well-known company. If you receive an unexpected call from someone you have no prior relationship with, always be careful not to provide any personal information.

Another variation of unsolicited calls is when scammers pose as technical support representatives or computer technicians, claiming to have detected a problem with your computer or internet connection. They may pressure you into granting them remote access to your device, which can lead to unauthorized access to your data. Always remember that legitimate organizations will not initiate contact without prior consent or a valid reason.

Red flag: putting you into pressure

Scam callers often employ high-pressure tactics to intimidate their victims and coerce them into immediate action. They may create a sense of urgency by claiming that you owe money or that a time-sensitive issue requires your immediate attention. They may threaten legal consequences or the suspension of services if you do not comply with their demands.

It is important to remain calm and not fall under pressure. Legitimate organizations will provide sufficient time to verify the call’s authenticity and make an informed decision. If you feel rushed or coerced, it is most likely a scam. Take a step back, hang up, and independently contact the supposed organization using official contact information to confirm the call’s legitimacy.

7 red flags to spot a scam caller
Fake tech support – Online scam – Credits to comparitech

Red flag: requests for personal information

A significant red flag is when a caller requests sensitive personal information, such as your social security number, bank account details, or passwords. Legitimate organizations will never ask for such information over the phone. Scammers use this information to commit identity theft, gain unauthorized access to your financial accounts, or engage in other illegal activities.

If a caller insists on obtaining your personal information, it is crucial to be cautious. Politely declined to provide any sensitive data and ended the call. Instead, contact the organization independently using official contact information to verify the request’s legitimacy. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry when protecting your personal information.

Red flag: Caller ID spoofing

Caller ID spoofing is a technique commonly used by scam callers to manipulate the display of their phone number on your caller ID. They can make it appear as if they are calling from a different phone number or even mimic a legitimate organization’s number. This tactic will deceive you into thinking the call is from a trusted source, making you more likely to answer or comply with their requests.

To combat this red flag, being sceptical of incoming calls is essential, even if the caller ID seems legitimate. If the call raises suspicions or exhibits other red flags, independently verify the caller’s identity before sharing personal information or making payments. Don’t solely rely on the caller ID as a measure of authenticity.

Scam phishing
Scam phishing

Red flag: unprofessional or suspicious behaviour

Scam callers often show unprofessional or suspicious behaviour during their calls. They may use aggressive or abusive language, become defensive when questioned, or refuse to provide proper identification or contact information. They may also avoid answering specific questions or provide evasive responses. These behaviours are clear indications of a scam call.

If you encounter such behaviour during a call, it is crucial to end the conversation immediately. Always keep in mind that official and legitimate organizations will maintain professional behaviour and provide you with the necessary information to address your concerns. Trust your instincts, and don’t hesitate to terminate the call if something feels off.

Red flag: requests for payment or financial information

Scam callers’ number one goal is to attempt to extract money or financial information from their victims. They may claim that you have outstanding debts, unpaid bills, or that you have won a prize that requires a payment to process. They often request payment through unconventional methods like wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, or cryptocurrency, making it difficult to trace or recover the funds once transferred.

Never provide payment or financial information to a non-verified caller. Real organizations will never demand immediate payment or ask for sensitive financial details over the phone. Take the time to independently verify the call’s legitimacy and consult trusted sources before making any payments.

7 red flags to spot a scam caller
Scam caller

Red flag: poor grammar or foreign accents

While not always indicative of a scam call, poor grammar or a foreign accent can be a red flag. Many scam callers operate from overseas call centres and may struggle with the language or have distinct accents. However, it is important to note that not all foreign-accented calls are scams, as many legitimate customer service representatives may also have accents.

Use this red flag with other warning signs to assess the call’s authenticity. If the caller’s communication skills are consistently poor or their accent appears fake or forced, exercise caution and employ additional verification measures before sharing any sensitive information.

Protecting yourself from scam callers

Now that you are aware of the red flags to spot a scam caller, it is crucial to take proactive steps to protect yourself from falling victim to their schemes. Here are some essential tips to safeguard your personal and financial information:

To minimize the impact of unsolicited and scam calls, it’s essential to take proactive measures. First, register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, which helps reduce the volume of unwanted calls. Always exercise caution when sharing personal information, particularly over the phone, and ensure you provide sensitive data only to trusted and independently verified sources. Convenient call-blocking services or applications to screen and block known scam numbers, preventing them from reaching your phone.

Most importantly, stay informed about the latest scamming techniques and tactics commonly used by fraudsters, as being knowledgeable is a crucial defence. Together, we can outsmart scam callers and ensure our safety in an increasingly connected world.

Kristi Shehu is a Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security) and Cyber Journalist based in Albania. She lives and breathes technology, specializing in crafting content on cyber news and the latest security trends, all through the eyes of a cyber professional. Kristi is passionate about sharing her thoughts and opinions on the exciting world of cyber security, from breakthrough emerging technologies to dynamic startups across the globe.