A phone scam can take many forms from advising you have won a lottery, won a shopping spree, your checking account numbers have been found on the internet, you have won a federal grant to verification of your account numbers that have been stolen.
It may also be a telemarketing scam, auto-dialing scam, donations to fake charities or telephone investment scams. It doesn't matter what it is, they are after your money or identity.
Experienced salespeople spend their day talking to potential victims, especially older people who are more trusting and may be lonely.
The most popular are the telemarketing scams that the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] estimates cost American consumers more than one billion dollars each year.
This can include everything from interests in non-existent oil wells or gold mining operations to the sale of precious metals like silver and gold to purchasing useless water purifiers.
Telemarketing salespeople spend their day calling people from either the telephone directory or a mailing list - which may have your age, marital status, income, hobbies and other information.
The fraudulent telemarketers are appealing to people's desire to make big money with little risk.
This helps the telemarketers personalize the call.
Often the fraudulent telemarketers include guarantees with their product or investment and comments like 'risk-free' or provides a very high return.
When they are selling interests in non-existent oil wells or gold mining operations, all the guarantees etc are worthless.
The sales pitch may include comments that you have been specially selected for an unusual or great investment opportunity. It often requires money to be transferred immediately as the 'market is moving'.
This is also a common scam where the caller claims to work for a security company and claims that your checking account information has been found posted on the internet. However. before the caller can remove the, you are required to confirm your account numbers.
A variation is that your account numbers have been stolen and a security company working with your bank requires you to verify the numbers before they can help you.