How To Stay Protected From Phone Scams

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By Alexandra Deryn

SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WENY) – People are still experiencing scam calls and Melanie McGovern, Communications Director of the Better Business Bureau, talked about the dangers of scammers and how to avoid them. 

McGovern shared some helpful tips on how to tell if someone is being scammed. She explained some of the signs.

“The number one sign is if you didn’t initiate the call…we get a lot of utility scam type calls where people will call somebody and say, ‘We’re going to shut your power off if you don’t pay us right away,’” she said.

McGovern said scammers attempt to sound like customer service employees, to get your personal information. This includes credit card numbers, checking account numbers, your full name, address, social security number, and more.

“The more they talk to you, the more they try to sell you,” she said. “That’s when sometimes…it’s a good idea to say, ‘You know what, let me think about it,’ and you hang up and go talk to a trusted friend or you go online, and you look up the real number for the company.”

She said it can get dangerous. She explained if a scammer collects enough of a person’s information, they could rob them or steal their identity. It does not matter if someone claims they are not online, their information still is, she said.

“It’s really important to check that credit report to make sure no one stole your identity, stole your social security number,” she said. “If you’re not online, ask somebody ‘Hey, run my name through a search engine and see what pops up.’”

She advised people to avoid scam calls at all costs. She said people should never try to mess with them and make matters worse.

“We hear stories of people saying ‘Oh I love messing with the scammers’…you’re only setting yourself up for more calls when do that so it’s just really important to let it go to voicemail,” she said. “If you recognize it’s a scammer right away, hang up.”

She also advised people to report any strange activity they notice on their phones and online. For more information about how to report scam calls in your area, check out the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York’s website by clicking this link.


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