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There are many clues to the scam that may cause your suspicion

Source: Allen Kim Release Time: 03:17:33 2019-11-19

"If you've been randomly selected for a big prize, vacation, or to enjoy great savings or if all of a sudden the IRS, Medicare, or Social Security Administration needs to get a hold of you for a warrant or penalty, take a deep breath and consider the legitimacy of the call," Schlecht said. He offered a simple rule: "Very broadly, if something seems too good to be true or too bad to be true, it probably is. Chances are that you haven't entered into a drawing, specifically sought out services, or even have an idea that you've done some misdeed."

Phishing scams are common, but particularly clever phishing attempts can deceive even those who are aware of them. In the moment, with the scammer on the other end putting pressure on you to verify or give up information, it's easy to make a mistake or overlook a detail or clue that may hint at a scam.

Knowing the procedures your bank or institution takes with fraud attempts can be helpful in spotting a scam, but it's not foolproof. Gunst has received multiple calls from his bank for real fraud attempts in the past, and he says that the scammer stuck to the pattern very closely. He said it was a "very clever trick."

"When I read that thread now, that's one red flag after another," Gunst says. "But it's hard to express the social engineering component of it. My guard wasn't up in the way it should've been."

The FBI warned of scammers spoofing legitimate FBI phone numbers in August, so it's clear that you truly can't trust any inbound call no matter what the caller ID says. Your best bet at staying safe would be to hang up and to call the phone number your bank or institution has listed.

"Zero trust always wins," Schlecht said. "You can't verify that they are who they say they are, so call them after the notification instead of interacting with an inbound call."

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