What are Alaska Phone Scams?
Alaska phone scams use telephone products and services to commit deceptive acts against Alaskans. Fraudsters often hide their identities to rob residents of their money or to steal confidential information for identity theft. They pretend to be employees of reputable institutions to trick their targets into acceding to their demands. Residents can use reverse phone number lookup tools to query suspicious phone numbers and verify scammers’ real identities. Persons who are phone scams victims can file complaints with the Alaska Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit
These frauds and scams are prevalent in the State of Alaska:
- Lottery or sweepstakes scams where scammers request targets to pay some money to claim lottery winnings.
- COVID-19 scams where con artists defraud their marks by exploiting fears of coronavirus pandemic
- Romance scams where scammers deprive their marks of their money or sensitive information by pretending to be in love with them.
- Fake check scams where fraudsters extort their victims by tricking them into paying back the difference for excess payments made with fake checks
- Charity scams where fraudsters pose as legitimate charities to solicit donations.
- Tech support scams in which scammers who identify themselves as tech support representatives deceive their marks into granting them remote access to their computer systems.
- Government Imposter scams where scammers pretend to be government agencies employees and trick residents into making payments or providing sensitive information.
- Jury duty scams where fraudsters disguise as law enforcement officers and threaten their targets with arrests for missed jury duty to obtain money.
- Grandparent scams where con artists trick seniors into parting with funds by claiming to be their grandchildren and in emergencies.
What are Alaska Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
In these scams, fraudsters notify their targets that they have won huge cash prizes in a competition they might not have entered. They often claim to be with reputable lottery companies to legitimize their claims. The callers will then request their targets to make some upfront payment to cover taxes, customs fees, and other processing fees to claim their winnings. In another variant of this scam, fraudsters try to trick their marks into providing their banking information for immediate remittance of cash prizes. The Alaska Attorney General’s Office (AGO) warns residents to end such calls and to never pay in advance for any lottery winning or loan offer. Applications that offer phone lookup services can help residents retrieve unknown callers’ identities. Victims of lottery and sweepstakes scams can submit complaints to the Alaska AGO or by calling (907) 269-5100.
What are Alaska Grandparent Scams?
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Department of Law warns residents, most especially elderly Alaskans, of increasing reports of these scams. Scammers pose as grandchildren of targeted elderly Alaskans and claim to be in some emergencies in foreign countries. They request their grandparents to wire large amounts of money through Western Union to settle emergencies like medical bills or pay for damages from road crashes. The callers often claim to sound different on the phone due to injuries sustained from accidents and plead for grandparents not to inform their parents.
Although many variations of these scams exist, the callers aim to exploit the love and concern of elderly residents and extort them. Seniors who suspect that scammers are impersonating their grandchildren should end the calls and call with numbers they regularly use to reach their real grandchildren. Residents can file reports of these scams with the Alaska AGO or the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.
What are Alaska Jury Duty Scams?
Scammers impersonate local law enforcement using caller ID spoofing and inform their marks that warrants have been issued for their arrests for failing to appear for jury duty. They sound official and authoritative and assure their victims that their names will be cleared if they make immediate payments with MoneyPak gift cards. Scammers often stay on the phones with their victims until they have collected the gift card information from their victims. Law enforcement does not serve warrants for residents summoned for jury duty, especially not over the phone. Residents who receive these types of calls can contact their local law enforcement to report them. Reverse phone number lookup tools can help retrieve the identity of such callers and help you avoid these scams.
What are Alaska Fake Check Scams?
Fraudsters use a variety of ploys to convince unsuspecting victims to deposit fake checks into their accounts and wire back part or all of the funds. Overpayment ruse is another common tactic scammers use to steal from their marks. They pretend to have accidentally made an overpayment for products they bought online and call their targets to return the excess. Fraudsters design fake checks capable of fooling bank employees. They often print the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions on them and are sometimes real checks drawn on identity theft victims’ bank accounts. As a result, fake drafts can go undetected by the banks for weeks, leaving the victims to repay the bank long after scammers have disappeared. Business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or electronic checks are some examples of the different types of fake checks scammers use in these scams.
Alaskans should desist from using money from unconfirmed checks to make payments to unverified callers to avoid scams. Residents who are victims of these scams can file reports with the Alaska Department of Law.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
- Understand that anybody can fall victim to scams and exercise caution when answering phone calls.
- Hang up your phone immediately you realize it is a scam call. Don to stay on the line or answer yes to any inquiries. Scammers record these responses and use them to authorize certain fraudulent transactions.
- Join the Federal Do Not Call Registry to enable the FTC bar legitimate telemarketers from calling your phone number. Although the registry only blocks legitimate telemarketing calls, it makes it easier to identify scam calls since fraudsters typically do not honor the list.
- Stay informed on current phone scams and online frauds. This will enable you to be alert and conscious of fraudsters’ ever-changing antics.
- Carefully research potential business partners’ backgrounds, investment offers, and other business opportunities to ascertain their legitimacy to avoid falling victims to scams.
- Store all sensitive personal and financial information securely. Records containing details like social security numbers, PINs, account passwords, and credit card information should be well kept from public pry.
- Report cases of illegal robocalls and attempted and successful scams to the FTC. The FTC examines these reports to unravel emerging scam trends and raise awareness among residents.
- Avoid revealing personal information online, especially on social media websites. Such data can be gleaned and used to scam you.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi and open internet networks for online banking transactions. Scammers often stalk public networks and search for users’ financial information.
- Remain calm when you are on a call with a suspicious person. Scammers often attempt to abuse their marks and compel them to make hasty decisions.
- Be wary of requests for personal and sensitive information from unknown persons who claim to be with reputable entities. End such calls and reach out to the supposed entities which the callers claim to represent on phone numbers from their official websites.