Congratulations! You have done your homework.
- You visited the FTC website to learn about opting out of unsolicited communications.
- You are on the National Do Not Call Registry, and know that it is now illegal for companies you haven’t done business with before to call you.
- You understand that legitimate companies selling something need your written permission to call you with a robocall.
Yet, this year alone, thousands of Oregonians will still become victims of fraud according to Ellen Klem, Director of Consumer Outreach & Education at the Oregon Department of Justice.
So, what else can you do to help limit your exposure to potential fraud attempts? Two approaches in particular are tried and true:
- Be conservative about when you pick up the phone.
For some people, the best course of action is never answering calls from unrecognizable phone numbers.
If that approach isn’t right for you, another option is to use a screening technology that flags “suspicious” numbers as they arise. Potentially fraudulent numbers are identified by tracking the volume of calls they send, how long their average phone call lasts, and how many times it is blocked by others.
Check with your phone service provider to see if this is an option they offer.
- Head to Google or a trusted resource, when in doubt.
Feel free to call the team at Oswego Wealth Advisors or a family member for some help if you’re unsure if you have been targeted by a scammer. You can also typically find information about similar experiences online to confirm.
To keep up-to-date on scam trends, sign up for the Oregon Scam Alert Network, which reviews local threats to consumers.
Keep in mind that as our protections advance, so do the tactics and technologies scammers use. For instance, scammers now use an original number each time your phone rings and are able to manipulate caller IDs will “spoof” the identity of the caller—making it appear to come from a credible source. What’s more, robocalls generally come from numbers that use your same area code in an attempt to fool you into picking up, in case it’s from someone you know.
Just as important as detecting and limiting your exposure is having the tools to handle yourself in the moment when you think an interaction seems off. Here are some top tips for ways to react when you suspect funny business:
Phone Scams: Say goodbye and hang up. Do not get tricked into pressing any numbers, as it will likely lead to more calls. After ending the call, block the number.
Emails Scams: Do not open any links or attachments. Mark as spam in your inbox and/or permanently delete.
Mailing Scams: Just throw it away.
On February 23, 2021, Oswego Wealth Advisors will host Oregon Department of Justice Director of Consumer Outreach & Education Ellen Klem to walk through more of the dos and don’ts around responding to suspicious requests.
“This session is designed to help you understand scams better so you can then make your family, neighbors and friends across the state smarter consumers by spreading the word.”
We hope you’ll join us.