Spam calls have been coming in record numbers lately. Studies show the number of scam phone calls is increasing every year, with some predicting by the end of 2019 as high as 44% of all calls will be spam. Most adults know how to avoid getting scammed at this point, but with these calls becoming more sophisticated and realistic, kids are at a high risk of misunderstanding the context behind them. Here are what parents need to tell kids about fraudulent communications.
What’s At Risk
It’s hard enough for adults to see through these highly advanced scams — let alone kids. But these calls are no joke: scammers are looking to get ahold of your personal information, from emails to home mailing addresses to credit card information. All of that could put you, and your kid, in danger.
These calls could come from anywhere, including from numbers without caller ID and others that have your hometown area code, making it hard to discern if they’re legitimate calls or not. So what should you, and your kids with cellphones, do?
“Hang up,” Joe Facchiano, community outreach coordinator for Community Partners 4 Kids, told WFMZ News. That’s the first line of defense — if you don’t recognize the number, don’t pick up. If you do, and the person on the other end sounds suspicious, just end the call.
It may not sound very polite, but etiquette is less important than one’s safety. Tell your child they can nicely say, “No thank you, I’m not interested,” before they hang up. If they do stay on the line, remind them to never share any personal information over the phone. Not their name, phone number, email, address, city — nothing at all.
Any call that does require personal information, like a conversation with a doctor or your child’s school, can be done with parental supervision. No matter how convincing the caller sounds, almost half of the calls out there are potential scams — so don’t take the risk.