Being duped and scammed out of money is bad enough. Unfortunately, victims who lost money to a scammer once are likely to get another scam call. With a guarantee to help them recover the money they lost or get a refund for an unauthorized charge, the scammer lures the victim into disclosing bank/credit card info and pay the small service fee. But don’t be fooled! This pitch is just another tactic designed to get even more money from the victim. It’s the fastest growing phone scam in the US and is known as the Refund and Recovery scam.
Here’s how the scam works: Someone who previously fell victim to a scam and paid money to the scammer is already on the scammer’s “sucker list.” Since the scammers buy, sell and share the list among themselves, victims can expect a surge of scam calls from different people and phone numbers. During the call, scammers tell various stories to convince the victim they’re legit. They may also claim to represent a government agency or identify themselves as police officers to sound credible. They assure the victims that they’re capable of processing the necessary paperwork for the victims to get reimbursed for their loss.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) however, warns that such claims are false. Although there are government agencies that help victims of phone scams especially those who have lost money, they do not charge a fee. To detect a phone scam, the commission shared a few tips:
- Practice healthy skepticism. Anyone offering to get you a refund for purchased items you never received — for a fee, is most likely bluffing.
- If someone claims to represent a government agency that will help you recover money you lost to a phone scam and charges you for it, report him to the FTC. Consumer protection agencies do not charge for their services.
- Check out local law enforcement and consumer protection agencies in your area and verify if they authorized anyone to make calls and offer help to phone scam victims.
- Don’t give out bank/credit card details in an attempt to recover lost money or a prize you never received. You’re more likely to lose more.
If you believe you’re a victim of phone scam, submit a complaint to the FTC. Report the phone number to www.callercenter.com too, to raise a warning. You never know when your post might save someone from falling victim to the scheme.