Phone scams involve any number of enticements in order for you to provide private bank account information.
How to spot a scam
These enticements include free travel vouchers, store gift cards, and grant funds the US government is giving away free. In all cases, once you provide your bank account information, instead of getting something free, your account is debited with an unauthorized phone draft.
90-day protection – what can happen to your account
You should be aware that while you have 90 days to return this draft at no cost to you, your account will need to be closed to prevent future unauthorized drafts from posting. Unfortunately, these companies typically generate multiple drafts for different amounts using different company names so a stop payment is not effective.
Vishing/Smishing – phone calls or text messages from what appears to be a “legitimate” company
“Vishing” and “smishing” are similar to “phishing” emails but are conducted over the phone. Vishing involves a phone call that appears to be coming from a legitimate company based on the caller ID, but unfortunately the caller ID is fake. Smishing is another version but done through the phone via text messages. Typically, vishing scams request you to enter personal information via the touch pad of your phone, sending the information to the fraudster in order to commit identity theft, or initiate unauthorized debits. With smishing scams, you may be sent a phone number or link that could contain malicious code, or direct you to a fraudulent website.
If you receive a suspicious call or text message, contact the company back at a known phone number (for example from the phone book or company website - do not use the number on your caller ID).
What to do if you need help
You can help stop some of these calls by registering your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov
, or by phone at 1-888-382-1222