Montanans are getting hit hard by bogus phone calls from thieves trying to steal their sensitive information, and the problem isn’t just in Montana. Americans across the country are in danger.
Thieves are using sophisticated technology to make unknown calls look like they’re from familiar persons and organizations, so that when an unsuspecting American looks at her smartphone, she’ll think that there is no threat, and answer it.
A thief will then do everything in his power to steal whatever personal information he can from her, including Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, voice mail information — you name it. They’re ruthless.
This type of spoofing scam, according to Assistant Attorney General Chuck Munson, is known as the neighbor scam. Thieves have become so skilled at it that some are calling it as a “term of art,” says Munson. A latest report from a Montana news station recently reported on the scam.
“They have the technology through their software now where the number actually shows up as the people who they say they are. For instance, the IRS, it shows up as a legitimate IRS number,” said Munson.
“They’ll go through the effort of figuring out what’s the area code of the area that I’m calling and even what’s the phone prefix. We will go, ‘Oh, I recognize this number, it’s not a scammer,” he said.
But in truth, the man behind the phone call cares nothing about you, claiming to be from a reputable organization in hopes of gaining your trust, in the hopes of stealing financial information. So how to tell the difference? Munson has a clear explanation.
“No legitimate company, no government agency, ever approaches someone in that way,” he said.
He provides suggestions to keep the thieves from hurting you. Never give out personal information over the phone if you feel suspicious. And if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from a reputable agency but wants financial information, hang up immediately. Also, it’s a good idea to create a password for your voice mail.
What do you think? Read further about a terrible scam involving one of America’s most trusted banks.