Don’t Get Hooked: A Guide to Avoid Phone Scams and Spoofing

June 24, 2024   |   Written By Lexicon Bank
Don’t Get Hooked: A Guide to Avoid Phone Scams and Spoofing

In today’s digital age, our phones have become extensions of ourselves. We use them for everything from banking to socializing, making them prime targets for scammers. Phone scammers and spoofing tactics constantly evolve, leaving many of us vulnerable to financial loss and identity theft. But fear not—armed with knowledge, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim.


Table of Contents

Understanding Phone Scams and Spoofing

  • Phone Scams
    These involve deceptive phone calls or text messages designed to trick you into revealing personal information, sending money, or clicking on malicious links. Scammers often employ psychological tactics like urgency, fear, or the promise of a quick reward to manipulate victims.
  • Spoofing
    This involves manipulating caller IDs to display a fake phone number or name. Scammers often use spoofing to impersonate legitimate organizations like banks, government agencies, or well-known companies. Many scammers give their scams an air of believability, which can deceive a lot of people.

Common Phone Scams and How to Spot Them

  • The Impersonation Scam
    Scammers can sometimes pose as representatives from your bank, credit card company, the IRS, law enforcement, collections agencies, or even tech support. They might claim suspicious activity has occurred with your account. They may threaten legal action for unpaid taxes or offer to help fix a recently detected computer virus – all while attempting to steal personal information, financial details, or access to your contacts.What you can do: Avoid unsolicited calls or texts demanding immediate action or threatening consequences. Legitimate organizations won’t pressure you into making urgent decisions over the phone or via text. Never give out personal information or account details in response to a cold call or text.
  • The Grandparent Scam
    This scam preys on the emotions of concerned grandparents or relatives. Scammers call and claim to be a grandchild or other family member in trouble, often with a fabricated story about an arrest, accident, or urgent need for money.What you can do: Don’t send money or provide personal details without verifying the story directly and with your family member, preferably by calling them on their previously known phone number.
  • The Phishing Scam
    Scammers send text messages or emails with seemingly legitimate links. Clicking on these links takes you to fake websites designed to steal your login credentials, credit card information, or other sensitive data.What you can do: Be cautious when clicking on links from unknown senders. Verify the legitimacy of a sender by contacting the organization they claim to represent through a trusted source, not a phone number provided in the message.
  • The Robocall Scam
    These are automated pre-recorded calls, often promoting prizes, warranties about to expire, or low credit card interest rates. These offers are fake. The goal is to get you to call back to a premium-rate number or to provide personal information.What you can do: Never answer calls from unknown numbers, and don’t engage with robocalls. If you accidentally answer, simply hang up. Don’t press any numbers to “remove yourself” from the list; this can confirm your number is valid.

How to Protect Yourself from Phone Scams and Spoofing

  • Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls and Texts
    Never give out personal information like your Social Security number, bank account details, or passwords over the phone or in response to a text message, regardless of how convincing the contact may sound.
  • Don’t Be Pressured into Making Snap Decisions
    Scammers often create a sense of urgency to cloud your judgment. If someone presses you for immediate action, it’s a red flag. Take your time, verify information directly with the supposed source, and don’t hesitate to hang up.
  • Verify Information Independently
    If a caller claims to be from your bank or credit card company, never disclose or offer information you know they should already have. Instead, hang up and call them back at a legitimate number. These numbers are typically found on the back of your bank cards or official company websites.
  • Don’t Click on Suspicious Links
    Be cautious of links in text messages or emails, even if they appear to come from a familiar source. Hover over the link with your mouse (without clicking it) to see the actual destination URL. If that URL appears suspicious, don’t click on it.
  • Register with the Do Not Call Registry
    The National Do Not Call Registry helps reduce telemarketing calls. It won’t eliminate all robocalls. It simply deters illegitimate operations from calling you. You can register your phone number at
  • Consider Call-Blocking Apps
    Several call-blocking apps identify and block scam calls based on reported numbers. Explore options available for your smartphone and consider using one for an added layer of protection.
  • Stay Informed
    Scammers constantly develop new tactics. Staying informed about the latest phone scams keeps you ahead of the curve. Check online and with various security information providers.

Sound Judgement Is Always Your Best Safeguard

Scammers typically hook us by feeding on our needs, greed, or fear. The best safeguard is to use sound and good judgment. Remember that scammers lull us into risk by getting us to respond without thinking, using ease of access, and with pressure tactics. Take a pause and evaluate things when you are under pressure. Remember that all the old axioms are still held today:

“If it appears to be too good to be true, ….”
“Buyer beware.”
“Nothing is free.”

We at Lexicon value your safety and peace of mind. Please feel free to contact us for assistance or information.


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