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Ann Haney: Telephone scams...No one is exempt

Ann Haney • Updated Oct 1, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Telephone scams are on the rise, and scammers have become more creative in their fraudulent attempts to convince potential victims of their legitimacy. They all have one main goal – get your money by accessing your personal information. 

Not all calls are made by an actual live person. Scammers have now learned to use robocalls and text messaging to accomplish their purpose. They operate by making false promises to receive free products, opportunities to buy products or make investments, receive free grants of money or lotteries of winnings for contests that were never entered. They are very persuasive, as they know many are in financial distress and hope for that opportunity to change one’s circumstances miraculously. They offer “too good to be true” opportunities for success and make one feel like they are making the biggest mistake of their life if they don’t take advantage of this supposedly “awesome” opportunity. 

How can consumers identify phone scams?

• Beware of calls claiming you’ve won a prize or vacations, especially if you have not registered for one.

• Beware of caller identification. Scammers can ring in as someone they are actually not. They have the ability to change the call in number that appears on your caller ID. This procedure is called “spoofing.”

• If they threaten with “take advantage of this opportunity immediately” tactics. They often say they cannot extend this offer at a later date and you must act now. 

• If the caller starts the call with “Can you hear me?” They will record your “Yes” and use it as your approval for credit card charges.

• Beware if they ask you to verify personal information.

Here are some things to do:

• register with the National Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222.

• hang up on suspicious calls.

• research business opportunities, charities and travel offers before providing information or accepting any offers.

Here are some things not to do:

• give in to immediate action pressures.

• don’t provide personal verification information.

• don’t send money as a wire or pay with a prepaid debit card for any offers.

Telephone scams should be reported to the proper agencies to increase protection and provide information about types of scams that are currently circulating. Telephone scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357. Report robocalls and telemarketing calls to the National Do Not Call Registry. Caller ID spoofing should be reported to the Federal Communications Commission at 888-225-5322. Every state also has a state consumer protection office. For Tennessee, visit usa.gov/state-consumer/tennessee to find contact information and for reporting. 

Ann Haney is a mother to six entrepreneurial-minded children, ordained minister, CEO of Aaron Publishing, founder of Ann Haney Ministries and Living In Abundance, nationwide motivational speaker, coupon specialist, empowerment coach and bestselling author of 20 published products, including her books, “Judgment Overruled,” “Exploding Into Successful Entrepreneurship,” “Single Steps In A Married World” and “Changing Your Life Through Couponing Financial Empowerment Series.” Ann Haney ministry’s vision is helping women know the root of their challenge and deliver them from the death grip it holds on their life by surfacing their inner beauty and confidence, helping young people discover their God-given purpose and pursue it with passion, helping men and women learn to use the resources available to them to overcome their circumstances and helping those recovering from life’s choices and challenges receive second chances without condemnation. Contact Ann at ann@annhaney.com to schedule a speaking engagement, individual coaching or view her website for more information at annhaney.com.

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