Phone scams are frauds that scammers perpetrate using telephone services. Fraudsters often use automated calls, live phone calls, or text messages to trick targeted Delaware residents into giving up their money and disclosing valuable information. Phone scammers use any information gleaned from their victims to commit identity or financial theft. The Delaware Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), educates Delawareans about phone scams and how to avoid them. Prevalent phone scams in Delaware include:
- Debt collection scams, in which scammers pose as representatives of debt collection companies to recover debts owed to creditors or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Debt relief scams, where fraudsters offer to write off their targets’ debts provided they make certain payments.
- Grandparent scams involve persons who pretend to be grandchildren of targeted elderly Delawareans and seek urgent financial assistance to resolve some fake emergencies.
- Impersonation scams, where fraudsters claim to be employees of government agencies to solicit money and request sensitive information from Delaware residents.
- In lottery scams, the callers lure targeted residents with bogus prizes and ask them to make upfront payments to claim such winnings.
What are Delaware IRS Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters impersonate Internal Revenue Service employees to extort money and obtain targets’ sensitive information. IRS scams in Delaware have many variations. In a popular version, the callers often threaten to arrest their targets if they do not make immediate payments to settle taxes owed to the IRS. These scammers favor payment via odd channels such as gift cards or wire transfers. People who are not current with their tax records have tendencies to fall for this version of IRS scam. Websites that offer reverse phone lookup services can retrieve information on these callers and prevent residents from falling victim to this scheme. In another version, scammers contact taxpayers with text messages purportedly from the IRS and inform them of an urgent need to update their tax records. Such text messages usually contain links that will take them to websites where they are required to supply their information, including sensitive ones. Residents should know that such websites are not IRS official websites and are meant for malicious purposes. Delete such messages immediately you receive them to avoid getting scammed.
The Delaware Attorney General’s Office educates residents on IRS scams and warns them never to share their personal information with anyone over the phone. Delawareans can file incidents of IRS scams online with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). If you receive this type of call, contact the IRS directly at 1 (800) 829-1040 to confirm the caller’s claims.
What are Delaware Jury Duty Scams?
Jury duty scams are a type of imposter scams in Delaware. Persons who engage in this scam often claim to be court officials or law enforcement agents and demand fines from targets for missed jury duty. The callers are usually specific on payment methods. Gift cards and money orders are their preferred payment channels. With phone lookup applications, you can retrieve information on these callers and ascertain if such claims are genuine or not. The Attorney General cautions residents to be wary of these scams and reveals that notifications for jury duties are always sent by mail and never via telephone calls. You can report jury duty scams to the Attorney General’s Office by filing an online complaint or calling (800) 220-5424.
What are Delaware Utility Scams?
Fraudsters perpetrate these scams by impersonating employees of local utility companies. They contact residents and seek immediate payments of delinquent balances. The callers often threaten to shut off utility service for their targets if they fail to pay within a set time (usually a few hours). In some instances, they request personal information for supposed verification purposes to commit identity theft. When you receive such calls, verify the callers’ claims by asking questions that only your utility company can readily answer to avoid scams. If they fail to provide the right responses, chances are they are scammers. End such calls and contact your utility company directly on the number provided on your previous utility bills to confirm claims. Persons who are victims of utility scams in Delaware can report to the Attorney General’s Office by calling (800) 220-5424.
What are Delaware Grandparent Scams?
These scams usually target elderly Delawareans. The scammers pretend to be distant relatives (usually grandchildren) of their targets who need urgent financial aid to resolve some emergencies. The callers often come up with pathetic scripts to fool their targets. They may say that they were arrested by law enforcement and need money to bond out of jail. At other times, the callers may claim that they were involved in a road crash and need funds to settle medical bills. Most targets end up sending money to resolve such fake emergencies only to realize it is all a scam. Authorities advise Delaware residents never to be pressured into sending money over the phone to such callers, especially if it involves some emergencies. Residents should always confirm such callers’ claims by reaching out to other relatives. If you think you have been a victim of a grandparent scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Office by filing a complaint online.
What are Delaware Tech Support Scams?
Tech support scammers pretend to be the technical staff of their targets’ computer companies and mislead them into believing their computers have been infected with viruses. To fix the issues, the callers request remote access to such computers and at a fee. Once they gain control, the fraudsters will install malware capable of extracting valuable information from their targets’ computers. Most often, these scammers will refuse to release the PCs until victims make payments to cover the phony repairs. Delaware residents should beware of these scam callers and not grant them access to their computers when they call. Persons who have fallen victim to these scams should scan their computers for strange files or folders and delete them immediately. Report tech support scams to the Attorney General’s Office by calling (800) 220-5424 or file an online complaint.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
- Reject calls from unknown numbers or exercise caution when you answer them. Hang up your phone immediately you realize it is a scam call.
- Never trust caller ID information as phone spoofing can make your caller ID display different phone numbers other than the one used to call you.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Legitimate telemarketers do not call numbers on this list, and this helps to identify scam calls.
- Never divulge personal information to anyone over the phone, especially if you did not initiate such a call. If anyone who claims to be with a government agency or financial institution calls and requests confidential information, end the call immediately.
- Research any business offer presented to you over the phone before taking further actions. Do not be pressured into paying, especially if the caller claims you risk losing it if you do not act immediately.
- Ask questions and make thorough findings before donating to charitable organizations.
- Never make payment to claim supposed winnings in a lottery, especially if you did not enter such a contest.
- Use websites that offer phone lookup services to retrieve information on suspicious numbers and robocalls. Doing this can help you avoid scams.
- Educate yourself on the various scam schemes using the FTC’s phone scams page.