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Beware of These Common Phone Call Scams

Beware of These Common Phone Call Scams

A customer recently reported this story to me. "I just got a call from the CEO. She said we're closing that deal and I need to wire $110,000.00 into this bank account." The caller into the office sounded exactly like the CEO. Specific instructions were given by "the CEO" to wire money to a bank account. It needed to be taken care of right away. So, company staff complied. And poof... just like that... $110,000.00 went into the ether. 

The Rise of Phone Call Scams

Sadly, this type of scam is happening more and more frequently. With the game-changing advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), text, photos, audio and video and look so realistic that you can't tell that they're not real.

The ability to re-create a human voice using AI is adding another layer to phone call scams. There were already a growing concern in recent years with the fast migration to VoIP. With the advancements in technology, scammers have found new ways to target unsuspecting individuals through phone calls. These scams can range from simple schemes to more elaborate frauds, all with the aim of tricking people into giving away their personal information or money.

Another reason for the rise of phone call scams is the ease of access to phone numbers. Scammers can easily obtain phone numbers from various sources, such as online directories or data breaches. They can then use these numbers to make unsolicited calls and attempt to deceive the recipients.

Automated technology is another factor contributing to the increase in phone call. Scammers can now use robocalls to reach a large number of potential victims in a short amount of time. These automated calls often use pre-recorded messages that prompt individuals to take certain actions, such as providing personal information or making payments.

The rise of phone call scams has also been fueled by the anonymity provided by technology. Scammers can use spoofing techniques to disguise their phone numbers and make it appear as if the calls are coming from legitimate sources. This makes it more difficult for individuals to identify and avoid fraudulent calls.

As phone call scams continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, it is important for individuals to stay vigilant and be aware of the common types of scams that are prevalent today. By understanding the tactics used by scammers, individuals can better protect themselves from falling victim to these fraudulent activities.

Common Types of Phone Call Scams

The story I related above was about personnel from a private company being impersonated using AI. But, what do you do when the caller is impersonating federal government personnel? Have you ever heard of the IRS impersonation scam? Scammers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service and threaten individuals with legal action or arrest if they don't pay a certain amount of money immediately. Another common scam is the tech support scam, where scammers pretend to be from a reputable tech company and trick individuals into providing remote access to their computers or paying for unnecessary software or services.

Other common phone call scams include the lottery or prize scam, where scammers inform individuals that they have won a large sum of money or a valuable prize but need to pay a fee or provide personal information to claim it. 

Red Flags to Watch Out For

There are several red flags that individuals should watch out for when receiving phone calls, as they may indicate a potential scam. One red flag is receiving a call from an unknown number or a number that appears to be spoofed. Legitimate organizations usually have recognizable phone numbers, so it is important to be cautious when receiving calls from unfamiliar sources.

Another red flag is when the caller becomes aggressive or tries to rush the individual into making a decision. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to intimidate individuals into providing personal information or making immediate payments. It is important to take the time to verify the legitimacy of the call and not to succumb to these pressure tactics.

Additionally, individuals should be wary of calls that ask for personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or passwords. Legitimate organizations would not typically ask for sensitive information over the phone, so it is important to be cautious when such requests are made.

Protecting Your Business from Scams

Exercise caution when sharing personal information over the phone. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a legitimate organization, it is important to independently verify their identity before providing any personal information. This can be done by calling the organization directly using a trusted phone number.

Additionally, individuals should be cautious when making payments over the phone. It is important to verify the legitimacy of the caller and the reason for the payment before providing any financial information. If in doubt, it is advisable to hang up and contact the organization directly to confirm the request.

Furthermore, it is important to keep your devices and software up to date with the latest security patches. This can help protect against potential vulnerabilities that scammers may exploit to gain access to your personal information.

Atlantech Online combats unwanted calls to our customers by filtering inbound calls and tag Maybe/Likely SPAM calls (modifying/replacing the CNAM) for all our customers.  

We have international long distance (ILD) calling turned OFF as a rule for our customers. If they need ILD, customer can sign a release form that acknowledges the cusotmer will be responsible for any fees that stem from ILD calls. But, having this rule in place for our customers, helps mitigate their exposure to ILD phone call scams.

We have also implemented STIR/SHAKEN, an industry standard devised to prevent unauthorized calls from reaching your business. All it does is verify that the call originated with a certified “reputable” vendor and tags the call INVITE message with the identity of the source vendor (for tracking purposes).  

Phone Service Carrier Protection

It is important that you use a phone carrier that is reputable and has defense systems in place to help protect your business from phone call fraud. Properly training staff is imperative, too. Make sure your procedures have proper checksum routines in place to prevent from exposing your firm to financial loss (or reputation loss!) from scams. If you have any questions or want to learn more... give us a call! We'd be happy to help. 


Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
November 30, 2023
Tom is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.