Rhode Island phone scams are scams perpetrated in the state through texts, emails, robocalls, and phone calls. Scammers call victims on their phones and try to get them to leak personal financial details and other sensitive information. They mostly pose as government staff or family members to solicit funds through unconventional means.
The Office of Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates the thousands of complaints that Rhode Islanders put forward daily. Victims of scammers who paid through Western Union’s wire transfer service may be eligible for a compensation fund. Provided they made such transfers between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017. There is also compensation for victims whose cases involve companies and institutions like MoneyGram, Volkswagen, HSBC.
Some of the common phone scams in Rhode Island include:
- National Grid Representatives Scam involving a scammer posing as a National Grid representative to demand money or victims get disconnected.
- Public Defender Scam has Rhode Islanders being tricked into sending money to a supposed member of Rhode Island Public Defender.
- Rhode Island 911 Scams involve phone scammers trying to deceive people that they are representatives of 911 emergency service. Then they trick the victims to release information that will endanger or expose their identity, safety, and credit.
- "Notice of Appearance in Court" Scam usually comes in the form of emails with the subject "Notice of Appearance in Court."
- Windows or Tech Support Scam where Rhode Islanders get robocalls, emails, or phone calls from someone claiming to be tech support from Apple or Microsoft.
- International Lottery Scams where victims are coerced into giving up their personal information. This can lead to the theft of a victim’s identity. However, federal law prohibits international or cross-border gambling and lottery.
- Robocall Scams involve pre-recorded and unsolicited calls sent to victims. Scammers make it more realistic by making the number appear as a government number. They try to get the victim's personal details like driver’s license number, social security number, and bank details.
- Phone Spoofing Scam, where scammers use caller ID spoofing to make their caller ID appear as someone else’s.
- Content Theft Sites, where victims are coerced into visiting sites distributing books, movies, and other contents with copyrights.
What Are Rhode Island Grandparent Scam Scams?
Grandparent or Elderly Scam is a scam targeted at the old and elderly in Rhode Island. Scammers call over the phone posing as the grandchild of the old victim, asking for quick funds. Sometimes they pose as law enforcement officers and lawyers. They tell the victim that their grandchild is in trouble with the law and needs bail money wired quickly. Scammers may also lie about a loved one being in an accident and need for critical medical attention.
To avoid being a victim of such scams, elderly people should aviod answering calls from numbers they do not recognize. The Attorney General for Rhode Island also advises that they ask anyone pretending to be family members to identify themselves by name. Sharing of personal financial information like bank details, social security number, and driver’s license over the phone should be avoided. Find out from your phone company how to bar unsolicited phone calls from unknown numbers, then go ahead and block them.
What Are Rhode Island IRS Phone Scam Scams?
IRS phone scams occurs when scammers pose as IRS staff telling victims in Rhode Island that they owe taxes. They then demand that this tax money be paid via wire transfer or debit card immediately. To get the victim to act quickly, they usually threaten them with arrest and other false legal actions, even deportation. Some have been known to be insulting, something a government worker will not do. The taxation division has gone on record to state that they do not send collectors to call taxpayers or demand immediate payments.
What Are Rhode Island National Grid Scams?
Scammers who perpetrate National Grid scams call businesses and residents posing as the National Grid’s bill collectors with National Grid caller IDs. These scammers use emails, phone calls, and text messages to convince victims that their balances on gas and electricity are past due. They may go on threatening disconnection if balances are not paid via prepaid card services at once. However, the National Grid asks customers to always crosscheck National Grid numbers with their billing statement.
Customers may also ask a National Grid representative to identify their genuineness by confirming their National Grid account number’s last five digits. Although National Grid may ask for payment over the phone, the payment method is decided by the customer. The best preventive measure remains to avoid divulging personal financial information to people you cannot identify. Conduct reverse phone lookup for numbers you are not sure about.
What Are Rhode Island Phone Spoofing Scams?
Phone spoofing scam occurs when scammers change their caller IDs to a legitimate government agency, business, or company and try to steal personal information or money from unsuspecting victims. Social security numbers, passwords, mother’s maiden name are amongst the most divulged information from Rhode Island victims of phone spoofing scam. Rhode Islanders are advised to never give out this personal information over unsolicited or unexpected phone calls. Before making any payment decisions, it is best to confirm companies’ and government agencies’ contacts from their websites and phone books. Also,
What Are Rhode Island Robocall Scams?
Rhode Island robocall scams are scams involving unsolicited automated robocalls made to unsuspecting victims. Millions of robocalls are made to phone users monthly. While robocalls are not illegal, it is illegal for service providers to give residents’ phone numbers to telemarketers without their permission. In October 2019, Rhode Island recorded its highest robocall figure, with a massive 13.1 million robocalls received. Telemarketers may face suits if customers who receive illegal robocalls decide to file against them. This thanks to
How Do I Avoid Becoming A Victim Of A Phone Scam?
As scammers are getting more advanced and convincing in their tactics, it may be even harder to avoid their tricks and traps. However, following some simple tips and preventive measures will help avoid a lot of phone scams. Some of these include:
- Personal information and financial details should be protected at all times. Pieces of information like name, address, emails should be shared with caution online.
- Online deals and offers that appear too good to be true are probably fraudulent.
- Because phishing can be hard to spot, it is best to stay clear from emails that ask for any personal information. Sometimes it could be as easy as clicking a link that gives the scammers access to one’s device. Emails and pop-ups asking recipients to click some link to fix their tax issues or balance their National Grid payment are most likely scammers.
- To stop the incessant robocalls, try registering phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Always check phone books and websites when in doubt of the credibility of a supposed company representative that called.
- International lottery and gambling are considered unlawful by federal laws. Avoid emails or calls calling to pay a sum to retrieve your ‘winnings.’
- Use phone lookup services, reverse phone number tools to confirm unfamiliar numbers that called.
- When shopping online, avoid buying from sellers who ask for money to be wired to them or paid through gift cards.
- If someone calls about an emergency, it is best to confirm with someone or and mouse about the person’s true well-being. Do not be quick to send money to the caller until the caller’s genuineness is confirmed.