Scams soar from robocalls, robotexts, phishing and vishing – Consumer Protection Week 2024

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CLEVELAND — Scam robocalls are as bad as they’ve ever been and spam robotexts increased by 34% over the last year. Regulators and lawmakers pass new laws and rules but, guess what: It’s already illegal to try to defraud people. Scammers don’t care about breaking another law that restricts calls using spoofed phone numbers or voices generated by artificial intelligence.

Don’t think a scam could never happen to you. In just the last two months, we’ve learned that three well-known people were defrauded through scam calls – one a wealthy celebrity and two whose jobs involve writing about fraud. 

In January, TV talk show host Andy Cohen said he was scammed out of a “sizable” but undisclosed amount of money through multiple wire transfers from his bank account by someone impersonating his bank. Someone posing as a government official scammed New York Times personal finance writer Charlotte Cowles out of $50,000. And someone pretending to be from tech-savvy author Cory Doctorow’s bank scammed him out of $8,000.

Our biggest pieces of advice: Don’t answer unexpected calls or engage with unexpected texts, emails or computer pop-ups. Unexpected means unexpected, regardless of what your Caller ID says. 

If you think it could be legit, that should be confirmed through a reliable source. If you do pick up a call or click on a link, don’t confirm or provide any information or make any payment. That all sounds pretty basic, yet millions of people get ripped off every year.  Check out our best advice about how to protect yourselves and your loved ones in our consumer guide, Is this text, or call, or email, a scam?

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