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Phone Scams

Telephone scammers try to steal your money or personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. They will make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through job offers, free grants and lotteries. Some scammers may call with threats of jail or lawsuits if you don’t pay them.

Phone Scam Warning Signs

  • You’ve won! The caller might say you were “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery.
  • You’re in trouble. Scammers might say you’ll be arrested, fined, or deported if you don’t pay taxes or some other debt right away. The goal is to scare you into paying.
  • You’re receiving a special job offer. You're offered a job without an application, interview, or discussion with the employer.

What to Do

  • Hang up. When you get a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.
  • Be cautious of caller ID. Imposters often fake caller ID information so you’ll be more likely to believe them when they claim to be a government agency or a vendor you trust. This is called “spoofing.”
  • Tell IT. If you receive a suspicious phone call, please complete a quick STLCC Nuisance Call Report.
  • Report to Federal Agencies. It's important to report phone scams to federal agencies. You can report telephone scams online to the Federal Trade Commission or by calling 877-382-4357. If you think someone is spoofing your number, report it to the Federal Communications Commission or call 888-225-5322. 

What Not to Do

  • Don’t Give in to Pressure. Take your time thinking about what the caller is offering/requesting. Don’t get pressured into making a decision on the spot.
  • Don’t Send Nonstandard Payment. Scammers will often ask you to pay via unusual methods like wiring money, refilling a gift card, or using a money transfer app.
  • Don’t Share Sensitive Data. It’s never a good idea to give out sensitive college or student data to someone who calls you unexpectedly, even if they say they’re with the Social Security Administration or IRS. Don’t provide credit card numbers, bank account information, or other sensitive information to a caller. 
  • Don’t Say Anything. If a caller starts the call asking, “Can you hear me?”, they are using a common tactic to record you saying “yes.” Scammers record your “yes” response and use it as proof that you agreed to a purchase or credit card charge!

If in doubt, complete a STLCC Nuisance Call Report.

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