You think it’s your friend calling, but it’s actually this growing phone scam

Personal Finance


He told her it was. “He’s bleeding a lot,” he added.

Then, the man told her that if she didn’t send him money immediately he would let her father die.

“I stopped mid-sob,” she said.

She suspected it was a scam and hung up.

Still, many people do end up sharing financial information over the phone.

More than $9 billion was lost from phone scams in 2017, up from $7.4 billion in 2015, according to a company that tries to combat such issues, Truecaller.

More than 7 million complaints were filed with the National Do Not Call Registry last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Phone scams are one of the big problems right now,” said Adam Doupe, associate director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics at Arizona State University. “They’re much more effective than email scams.”

The growth of the phone scam is, in part, thanks to a new tactic these criminals are using that makes people more likely to answer their calls, and then trust them once they do.

Scammers are increasingly spoofing phone numbers to make them look familiar to you. They might use your area code or the first six digits of a friend’s phone number.

Half of all phone scams today use this tactic of digit spoofing, according to a recent analysis by Hiya, a phone spam protection company.



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