Consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, up 70 percent over the previous year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The most common scams reported by millions of consumers included imposter scams – in which fraudsters pretend to be someone who needs information from you – and online shopping scams.
Most of us carry phones in our pockets, so it shouldn’t be surprising that most scams are now initiated by phone. The most recent Truecaller Insights US Spam & Scam Report claims that one-third of us have fallen victim to phone-based scams.
According to AARP, a relatively new and popular scam is the “Google Voice Scam”. If you’ve posted anywhere online to sell an item or find a lost pet –any post that includes your phone number – a fraudster might call you and, under the guise of verifying that you are not a scammer, tell you they’re sending a verification code from Google Voice and request that you read it back to them.
Sounds reasonable, right? But the scammer is actually setting up a Google Voice account under your name, and they’ll use that account to commit fraud.
It’s easy to avoid this scam. Simply never share verification codes with anyone. If someone calls or texts you out of the blue — or in response to an ad you’ve posted — and tells you they are sending a verification code, hang up immediately. If you receive an unexpected text message with a verification code that you have not requested, delete the message. Do not respond. Contact the party the message claims to come from directly using a trusted source such as their website or the phone number on the back of your card.
Our partners at Zelle® have worked with Vox to create an engaging site that includes information, quizzes, and audio and video that take you behind the scenes into the minds of fraudsters and their methods.
We think it’s a fun and engaging way to learn how to protect yourself. Check it out here.