Phone rip-off: these are the scammers’ tricks

Fraudulent calls keep piling up. This is how you can recognize the typical scams used by telephone fraudsters.

Not only on the Internet, but also on the phone, scammers look for victims for their rip-off attempts. The Federal Network Agency only recently warned of phone number misuse.

Some time ago, the consumer advice center in Schleswig-Holstein warned that calls were increasing again, with gangsters trying to get to sensitive data. The aim of the fraudsters: data theft, attempts at extortion or signing unwanted contracts with the victims. The consumer advocates name some typical rip-off examples:

Alleged Microsoft employee:

The callers pretend to be Microsoft employees and try to get access to the person being called because of an alleged problem on the computer. The aim of the attack: infection with malware, spying out or encrypting account data and then blackmailing the owner. This scam is ancient, as our numerous reports show:

Police warn: New scams with coronavirus are always new

Microsoft warns: More and more calls from alleged Microsoft employees

Warning: fake Microsoft technicians rip off users

Microsoft support: Police warn of new scams

Phone scammers pretend to be Microsoft employees

Alleged health insurance employees:

The fraudsters claim to work for the consumer advice center or for a health insurance company and need address and bank details to be able to pay out a premium. With this data, the fraudsters shop online at the victim’s expense or conclude contracts.

Alleged energy advisor:

Callers claim they are energy advisors. They initially pretend to be advising, but then try to subvert an electricity or gas supply contract.

Alleged bank employee:

The caller poses as an employee of the house bank and claims there is a security problem with the account. He tries to get a PIN or TAN for online banking.

Tips: how to protect yourself

  • Never reveal confidential information about yourself over the phone.

  • Do not answer calls with withheld numbers.

  • Never call back a missed call from a number you do not know: Calling back calls to unknown numbers can result in high costs.

  • If you did not expect the call and you are not interested in its content: End the call and hang up.

  • If you are unsure about the authenticity of the caller, then end the call and call their institution (for example your house bank) on the telephone number you know and ask. To do this, make a note of the name and position of the caller so that you can make specific inquiries.

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