Written by Kendall R Williams, Information Security Engineer (ITS)

Have you ever received a threatening phone call from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or perhaps from the Chinese Consulate? Phone scams are on the rise, especially during this time of year because many of us are renewing benefits and preparing for the next tax season. You may have already answered a few calls from what appear to be a local phone number. Your caller ID may even display an extension associated with the University of Chicago. Scammers know that in order to trick you into answering the phone, the call must appear familiar. At least that is what the scammer is counting on by faking (spoofing) caller ID numbers. These calls can actually be coming from anywhere in the country or in the world.

Your phone service provider can put measures in place to warn you of such calls but unfortunately, there is little that can be done to stop them. This is where human intervention comes in to play. Being knowledgeable about the types of phone scams that are out there is key to avoid falling prey to these scammers. You can also report them to help spread the word.

The Federal Trade Commission is an excellent online resource to stay on top of the latest phone scams, read helpful tips to spot and avoid falling for phone scams, and to report a scam. You can also sign up for email updates on the site as well.

Read the latest FTC blogs of recent scam alerts that have been reported:

Scammers impersonate the Chinese Consulatehttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/04/scammers-impersonate-chinese-consulate
Scammers impersonate the Social Security Administrationhttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/10/hang-spoofed-ssa-calls
Rest insured, you can avoid fake healthcare planshttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/11/rest-insured-you-can-avoid-fake-healthcare-plans
IRS Imposter Scams Infographichttps://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0519-irs-imposter-scams-infographic

Stay safe, stay informed, and visit Get Secure for more tips to keep you protected.