Do you know when robocalls/texts are a scam?


If you can’t tell, it’s best not to engage

Robocalls and texts have been plaguing consumers for years. 

These recorded calls or pre-written text messages come on behalf of a third party – a political representative, a telemarketer, etc. While doctor’s offices or restaurants may use these services to confirm appointments or reservations, scammers also use them to get consumers to share personal financial information. 

“We should never, ever engage with an unexpected call, text, or email,” Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, told ConsumerAffairs. 

“Don’t answer, don’t click, don’t open. If you think it could be legit, reach out in a way you know independently is correct; don’t just call the number they give you. If you do pick up an unexpected call or open a text or email, don’t ever provide or confirm any information or pay anything through any type of payment.” 

Staying safe against robocalls and texts

This Consumer Protection Week, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and ConsumerAffairs want to arm consumers with all of the information they need to steer clear of scammers. 

When dealing with robocalls and texts, one of the biggest things consumers should know is that scammers have gotten really good at confusing people. Whether that’s through changing caller ID so a call looks like it’s coming from someone you recognize, or altering texts to be from a place you’ve visited, these tactics are designed to trick consumers into providing personal information. 

This makes it incredibly difficult to know what’s a scam and what’s a legitimate message. And this is also why consumers need to be extra diligent when they see these calls, texts, or emails. 

Never engage if you’re not sure!

Whenever you see a phone call or text message that raises some eyebrows, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. 

While it may be tempting to call the number or visit the website that you receive, those options are only likely going to further the scam. It gives the scammer more ways to reach you, try to get personal information, etc.

Unless you can call a family member, store, or your credit card company directly, it’s best to ignore the call, text, or email entirely. 

Perhaps even more importantly: never send money as a result of receiving a robocall/text/email. Scammers are notorious for trying to get money sent electronically or have gift cards sent to them. However, any legitimate call would never urgently ask you for money – especially through a gift card. 

Consumers should also steer clear of providing or confirming any personal information that scammers may have. This will prevent any additional fraudulent activity and save your personal information. 

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