Kansas phone scams are confidence tricks perpetrated on residents of Kansas with the help of a telephone. Phone scams can be executed using telephone services like voice calls, robocalls, text messages, emails, and scam websites. Like most types of scams in Kansas, telephone scams are handled by the Kansas Attorney General Office (KAG). There are many types of phone scams in the United States, but KAG has identified the following as common phone scams in Kansas:
- Timeshare Scams - where a scammer offers residents an opportunity to use a vacation property for a specified time every year. This may appear legitimate, but most of them attract hidden charges that the victim would not have agreed to if the terms were clearly stated.
- Romance scams - where scammers use fake profiles on social networks and online dating sites to trick individuals into giving up their money and personal information. KAG warns residents about transferring money to individuals they meet online and meeting online friends in person.
- Benefit Food Box Donation Scam - where a scammer pretentiously solicits for donation with the contact of the County Police. This con game is used to steal money from the victim. Food box scammers will never request cash directly. Instead, they will send the target packets of information on how to make donations. If you receive a call asking for direct donations, hang up and contact the County Sheriff.
- Unemployment Scam - In this case, a caller impersonates the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) to steal important information from residents. Scammers usually send an email to the target, informing them about an unemployment claim or a questionnaire that needs to be completed. This is a trick to get unemployed individuals to give up sensitive information. KDOL advises Kansas residents to ignore any email claiming to promise them a job from the commission.
- Credit Card Repair Scam - where scammers impersonate bank representatives to obtain credit card information from targets. Typically, the caller who pretends to be your bank’s customer care officer will notify you of a credit card fault that needs to be fixed. Scammers may ask for a fee or personal information that your bank should already have to fix the credit card. KAG advises residents to ensure that all calls from their banks are verified. Individuals may call the number on the back of their credit card to be sure. Alternatively, use a reverse phone lookup application to know the true identity of the caller.
- Debt Collection Scams - where a caller informs the target of a debt that needs to be paid. Scammers often use the threat of arrest to trick the individual into sending money to them. If you have a debt that you are yet to clear, contact the firm directly to know the payment deadline. Do not rush into making payments because of a telephone call.
- Lottery/Sweepstakes scam - where scammers inform their target that they have won a prize. This is followed by a request that the target pays a certain fee to claim the prize. KAG has advised residents never to pay anyone who calls to inform them about a lottery prize.
- Fake Check Scams - where a caller asks the victim to deposit a check in exchange for a few thousand dollars. This scam works because the amount written on the fake check is more than what the target will be expected to give the caller. Contact your bank as soon as you are offered a check that seems suspicious.
- Social Security Scams - where scammers pose as officials from the state's social security administration. They request sensitive information, like the target's social security number using the threat of arrest or fines.
What are Kansas IRS Scams?
Internal Revenue Scam (IRS) is one of the common tax scams affecting tax-payers in Kansas. IRS scam occurs when an individual impersonating the tax agency informs a potential victim that they owe tax; this is usually followed by lawsuits or arrest threats. The scammer usually employs caller ID spoofing to contact the victim and inform them that the law enforcement agencies are ready to visit their work or home to enforce the arrest. Alternatively, scammers may claim that they need to verify the information on the target's return. To gain the trust of the target, the scammers may provide a badge number and case number. It is noteworthy that the Kansas Department of Revenue (KSR) will not threaten a tax default with arrest.
What are Kansas Emergency Scams?
Kansas emergency scams, also known as “Grandparents Scams,” are targeted at old or retired residents in the state. This scam often starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be the target's grandchild in a foreign country, who has been arrested, mugged, and needs money urgently to effect a release from police custody. Emergency scams may be perpetrated by a team of fraudsters, with one claiming to be the grandchild's lawyer.
Scammers try to sound convincing, and they usually ask the target not to inform anyone about the message. This scam often requires a close study of the target's information. Social media platforms like Facebook have made it easier for scammers to find sufficient information about targets to make their claims sound more convincing. They may go as far as mentioning the names or other information of the target's family members.
Kansas Voice Phishing Scam
A voice phishing scam occurs when an identity thief calls pretending to be a bank, credit card company, or a legitimate business official. Scammers inform the target that their bank account or credit card has a problem. This is usually a trick to lure the individual into giving up sensitive information via the phone. The caller may send a link to the target's mobile, requesting them to fill an online form. Voice phishing calls are tricks to gain access to the victim's bank account. If you use online banking, ensure to always go through your bank's homepage to access your account. Residents who believe an identity thief has contacted them should file and submit a complaint with the Attorney General.
Kansas Tech Support Scam
In Kansas tech support scams, the caller claims to be representing a popular tech company, such as Microsoft, and that they need to install some updates on the target's device. They claim that these updates are needed to protect the user’s device from viruses, but their real intention is to install a virus to control the device. After installing a virus on the device, the scammers may try to sell antivirus software, extended warranties, or technical support services to the target, which they do not need. If you have fallen victim to this scam, file a complaint with Kansas Consumer Protection Division (KCPD), or call (800) 432-2310.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
- Never wire money to a person immediately after a telephone solicitation.
- Hang up if a caller is asking for your personal information.
- Always check the reputation of the seller, management company, or developer you intend to purchase from.
- Do not speak to unknown callers, except the call was initiated by you.
- Enroll your number with the National Do Not Call Registry.
- If a caller claims to be your grandchild, ask them personal questions that are not available online.
- Use reverse phone number service to know the origin of a call. You may download a reverse phone lookup application to do this.
- Contact the KAG for more information on phone scams in Kansas.
- The KSR will not initiate contact by phone and ask for personal information to verify your tax return.
- Never pay to claim a prize you won.