Have you been receiving scam calls recently? Lexington residents got an average of 11.6 robocalls per person last month, according to one site, and federal agencies offer advice on identifying and stopping them.
“Scams have reached an all-time high in Kentucky, and the Office of the Attorney General is constantly working to stay ahead of con artists,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s website reads.
Robocall-blocking software company YouMail estimates Kentucky residents received 51.39 million robocalls in February. More than 22 million robocalls have been made in Lexington alone so far this year, YouMail reports.
“The index works by extrapolating the data collected from the many tens of millions of calls made each month to YouMail users,” YouMail’s website reads.
The website estimates alerts and reminders make up 28% of the calls, while 30% are telemarketing, 17% are payment reminders and 25% are scams.
How to report scam calls in Kentucky
Kentucky residents are encouraged to report scams to the attorney general’s office by phone at 888-432-9257 or online. The state website accepts reports of scams if they took place via phone, internet, email, mail or in person.
The federal government recommends people report phone call scams online to the Federal Trade Commission. Federal agencies say they can’t resolve individual cases, but they use reports to “investigate and bring cases against fraud, scams, and bad business practices.”
You can also report unwanted calls and register for the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov. The registry stops sales calls from real companies, but it can’t stop calls from scammers who ignore it, according to donotcall.gov.
“Companies that illegally call numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry or place an illegal robocall can currently be fined up to $43,792 per call,” the website says.
Spoofed phone numbers can be reported online through the Federal Communications Commission.
Common phone scams
Here are some examples of common phone call scams, according to the FTC:
Imposter scams: Someone pretends to be someone you trust, such as a government agency, a family member or a love interest.
Debt relief/credit scams: Fraudulent people or organizations may offer to get your student loans forgiven or fix your credit for a fee.
Business and investment scams: A caller may entice you to start your own business or make a large investment with the promise of big profits.
Charity scams: The FTC reports scammers posing as disaster relief organizations are common.
Extended car warranties: Just because a caller knows the type of car you drive and when you bought it doesn’t mean a service contract is legitimate.
“Free” trials: You could potentially be signed up to purchase subscriptions.
Loan scams: Guaranteed loans for an up-front fee are typically a red flag.
Prize or lottery scams: Scammers may call saying you’ve won a prize, but you need to pay some sort of up-front charge to receive it.
Travel and timeshare scams: Callers promise free or inexpensive vacations that may actually cost you a lot.
The FTC says the best defense against scam calls is call blocking.
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