It's a scam that nearly fooled an employee at the Better Business Bureau! It's called fat-finger dialing. It sounds funny but what these scammers are trying to do won't have you laughing.
This is very tricky. In this scheme, crooks are targeting you right when you need help -- when you're trying to reach customer service for different kinds of products or services. And they are relying on you to make a small mistake that could lead to big consequences.
"Scammers have found so many different ways to get over on people," says Rhonda Mettler of the Better Business Bureau. She says the new scam called "fat-finger dialing" just shows how crooks are getting more and more creative at trying to get your money.
This is how it works: Scammers are buying phone numbers similar to the customer service numbers of major companies -- maybe your bank, phone company or one of your other service providers. They're relying on you misdialing -- maybe a digit or two off -- and before you know it you're speaking to scammers.
"They are hoping that you are going to provide them with your personal information."
Picture this: You need to reach customer service, you search the company's number online and you dial that number. Say for example Netflix's hotline is 1-866-579-7172 but instead of dialing 2 your finger hits 3. Then you'll hear an automated message telling you that you've received a gift card. Thinking you dialed the right number you'll think this is the real deal. Then you'll get transferred to a "representative" who turns out is a scammer.
"They're smooth because they will go into detail and they will provide you information that they already know about you."
And they'll try to get more personal information out of you over the phone. The BBB offers these advice so you don't fall for this:
- Remember, legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information for coupons or giveaways.
- Do a quick web search. If the giveaway is a scam it's easy to find out online.
- Watch out for a reward that's too good to be true.
"It's just scary cause you're not even safe with your phone anymore," says Mettler.