PHONE SCAMS: When Answering the Phone Could Cost You Money

LUBBOCK, TX - Phones ring constantly and many get frustrated when the caller is someone they don't know. And more frequently the person, or robot, on the other end of the line is a phone scammer. They're either trying to sell you something, reduce your non-existent college debt or try to get your cash. 

Experts are warning that you need to be extra careful when it comes to phone scams because they're developing new ways to trick you into giving them money. 

"Scammers, they don't care," said CEO and President of the Better Business Bureau, Greg Linder. "They will call anybody, and everybody, anytime, any day, if they think they're going to be able to get some money out of you."

The Better Business Bureau said they get 30 to 40 phone calls a day sometimes reporting phone scams from the South Plains. The scammers get names through phone lists. The most common scams are IRS claims, credit card debt and college tuition debt. 

"There are so many ways they can get your number," said Connor Stafford, who works at The Repair Shack and helps people get their numbers off those lists. "They have a lot of technology and they're constantly searching for new people to call."

Scammers are using new techniques like "spoofing" where they call you from numbers with your same area code so you're more likely to answer. But experts explain there are things you can do to help get your number off these lists. 

The Repair Shack suggests putting all of your phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry as a first step. If the problem persists, it suggests looking into apps that block telemarketers and scammers from calling you.

These apps and Do Not Call lists won't stop all calls but they can help. The Repair Shack suggests actually answering the calls because they could make them less frequent. 

"If you don't answer the phone, or you answer and hang up so it stops ringing, they're going to put you right back in there list of numbers," said Stafford. "What you should do is say, 'I'd like to be added to your Do Not Call List,' and at least that one should not be able to call you again in the future."

Telemarketers are finding new ways to scare people into answering and eventually giving them money. Just weeks ago, Lubbock Police confirmed a phone scammer called police pretending to be a kidnapping victim. They blamed their phone scamming target as the accused kidnapper. 

"The good news was there was no victim," said Lubbock spokeswoman Kasie Whitley. "This was a false report. They were able to determine that the caller in fact was an IRS scammer."

Agencies like the IRS and FBI will not call you. Police warn to be cautious giving your money to any agency using pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or personal checks. 

If you think you're being scammed, call the Better Business Bureau to confirm if the call is a phone scam or not. You can also report it online to warn your neighbors of the potential danger. 





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