Every year we see reports that scam calls in Canada are getting worse and worse.
Our media feed fills with ways we can protect ourselves from scammers, such as watching for red flags like demands for money or gift cards, threats, or coercive language. Even calling back an international number gives the scammer money when you have to pay for the long-distance charges.
But tax season is the true scammer season. It’s their time to shine. The thousands of numbers dialed all over the world were leading up to this time of year like they’re the elves of the Christmas Grinch.
As if making sure we pay our taxes correctly and getting the paperwork together isn’t stressful enough, our phones are buzzing themselves off our desk because those greedy buggers just want our hard-earned money for themselves.
And tax season is coming up.
Scammers will dial anyone with a phone number. And I don’t know about you, but my phone has already started ringing.
I got eleven scam calls last week alone, and I know that’s just the start. My partner got five phone calls in an hour’s time by five different numbers last Thursday.
I block each and every number that calls me, but what does that do when they just call from a different one? I know, I know, they call to see if the phone number is still in service. Sometimes they leave their robotic messages, sometimes you answer and they say “goodbye” and hang up, and sometimes the line is silent before the call ends.
But frankly, I’m insulted by it.
Scammers have the audacity to waste my time, but don’t have the nerve to let me waste theirs? That is just poor customer service.
The world has been in this pandemic for almost a year now – surely these scammers are aware of that. It is very lonely working from home and doing online classes for a year straight without seeing my friends. I need a human to talk to. Instead, I just get tricked and teased by phone calls that turn out to be just another robotic voice.
For once, I’d like to answer the phone and have an actual person on the other end.
You know what the real scam is? Robbing me of the human contact.
That being said, here are some tips to protect yourself:
Never call the number back
Never answer the phone with “yes” in case they are recording you
Never answer the phone with “no” in case they are recording you
Never give your name or SIN number
If you get an actual human, don’t believe what they say no matter how elaborate it sounds
If you get an actual human, ask them how their day was and what their interests are. Engage in small talk, scammers might just be shy…
You know what, just never answer the phone. Call a friend instead. You have human friends, right? That must be nice.