Phone Phishing

Some clever criminals have devised the perfect way to get you to divulge your personal information. They call you up and ask for it over the phone!

Many people are aware of phishing scams and would never give out their personal information through email or on a website. However, crooks have long known another way to con people into giving them sensitive personal information such as their Social Security or credit card numbers. They call you up on the phone and ask you for them. I know it sounds silly but it works all the time because these phone fraudsters create real-sounding, yet fictitious contexts designed to fool people.

Jury Duty Phone Scam

One of the more recent and highly effective versions of this scam involves phoning people to tell them that they were expected in court for jury duty. The person calling will pretend they’re an employee of a local court and tell you that because you failed to appear for jury duty, a warrant has been issued for your arrest. At some point during the call you’ll be asked for personal information so you can verify your identity. The con man expects that you’ll be rattled and counts on this for the scam to work.

The Bank Needs Your Help

Another common and highly successful version of this scam involves someone pretending to represent your bank or credit union. They’ll offer some half-baked story like the bank’s servers have crashed and they need your banking data so that it can be re-keyed into the system. They’ll start by asking for your Social Security number and if they can finagle that out of you they’ll go after more. Next they’ll ask for your credit card numbers. If you’re that helpful they’ll go for the mother load: your PIN number.

Remember that banks, courts and any other legitimate business or organization will never ask for this kind of information over the phone. There have been instances where I’ve given my Social Security number out but it was on a call I initiated and expected the other party to ask for it. Instances like that are rare but never, ever give any personal information out over the phone if the call is unsolicited, no matter how legitimate the caller seems.

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Wendy Brisley
8 years ago

I received a call to our landline/home phone today stating that the IRS has issued a warrant for the arrest of someone…NO name…residing at our residence. We were to contact them immediately to prevent further action.

The caller left this number 818-XXX-XXXX.

The caller stumbled through the message and I know we do not owe back taxes. So, this call in my opinion is a scam. I think it is interesting they left a number…I did not call it.

Kevin Fowler
6 years ago

This is the same thing that is happening to me. I get a call once or twice a week. I called the number and they were asking for my name and other information. I gave them nothing and informed them I was going to file a complaint. They are identifing themselves as the IRS ans saying that I have multiple warrants out. Contacting the local IRS shows nom warrants. The phone numbers they are using are: 1 631 XXX XXXX. Phone out of New York.

Anne Jeffery
3 years ago

My husband received a call asking for him by his first name and saying that he needed to call the Federal Reserve Bank they were holding a check for him pending verification. The number was 224 297-3287. Pretty sure this is a scam. We did not call.

Last edited 3 years ago by Anne Jeffery