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How can I avoid scams?

Fraud attempts today can take many forms: From phone calls, emails, pop-up advertisements, and even search engine results, malicious entities are constantly finding new ways to catch unsuspecting individuals off guard. In an effort to fight these bad actors, we would like to offer some helpful tips on how to identify (and protect yourself!) from fraudulent activity you may encounter both on- and offline.

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What Are Some Common Phone Scams?

Now more than ever, criminals are utilizing phone calls in their ever-evolving strategies to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. It’s important to arm yourself with the information needed to identify and protect yourself from phone scams.

If you receive an unsolicited, unexpected phone call from a company – even one you recognize or receive services through – requesting personal information such as your credit card number, bank information, log in credentials, or social security number, DO NOT provide the information. Instead, hang up, retrieve the company’s contact information from a reliable source (such as their official website, product packaging, or contract information), and reach out to them via one of their official channels. By contacting the company via a legitimate, verified avenue, you are able to ensure you are communicating with the intended party.

Do not feel pressured to pick up calls from unknown numbers (especially if the area code is not one that you recognize, or if the caller ID is blocked); if the message is important, the caller will likely leave a voicemail.

Be wary of individuals guiding you to websites or having you download files under the guise of providing “technical support,” or granting remote access to your computer.

Caller ID Falsification

Caller ID, while a helpful tool, should not be solely relied upon to identify incoming calls. Scammers can modify their caller ID to appear as any number they wish (real or non-existent), including phone numbers from individuals, companies, and even the government.

Family or Friend Emergency Scams

Scammers may call you pretending to be a family member or friend who is in a bad situation. They may present an urgent, distressing story involving things like an accident, travel issues, or even jail. They may request that you send money right away, and that you keep the interaction a secret from others (even within your family or friend group).

In these situations, it’s important to think calmly and with a level head. Ask the caller questions that only the person they report to be would know, and attempt to call them back on a known-good phone number. If you aren’t able to verify their identity, do not hesitate to reach out to others to validate their story.

Do not send money via methods like gift cards or wire, and don’t be tempted to send a check or money order via courier. These methods are often used by scammers due to their fast, untraceable nature – their goal is to get your money before you realize you have been scammed.

You can read more information on this type of scam at the FTC’s Consumer Information website.

Computer-Related Scams

You may receive phone calls claiming to be tech support from reputable companies (such as Microsoft or Apple) stating that you have a virus, or other computer-related issues. These callers often request information about or remote access to your computer under the guise of diagnosing or repairing the reported issue.

Legitimate companies will typically never call you to report issues with your computer. Regardless of how convincing the caller sounds, if you receive this type of call, do not provide any information or access to your computer, and hang up.

Likewise, be wary of any emails or pop-up alerts with similar claims. Do not click on any links displayed, and before placing an outbound call to a phone number found in one of these notifications, perform a search on Google to verify its authenticity. Do not dial the number if the results are suspicious.

Never navigate to or enter information on websites these individuals direct you to visit. Doing so could result in loss of control of your computer, the installation of a virus, or your information being stolen.

You can read more information on this type of scam at the FTC’s Consumer Information website.

IRS Impersonators

Callers identifying themselves as representatives from the IRS may claim that you need to make an urgent payment. Oftentimes these demands include threats of arrest and jailtime, or other severe penalties if you do not comply. These calls may appear to come from legitimate phone numbers, and the caller may appear to know some basic personal information about you (like your name and address).

It is important to be aware that even if you do owe money, the IRS will typically you a bill prior to calling you. They won’t demand payment via any specific method (like gift cards or wire transfer), and they won’t ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. They will always give you the opportunity to appeal the amount of money you owe, and they won’t threaten to involve law enforcement. You can contact the IRS regarding taxes owed by calling 800-829-1040.

If you are not aware of owing any taxes, and you receive a call purporting to be from the IRS, do not provide any information to the caller, hang up, and report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 (or at their website).

You can read more about this and other tax scams at the IRS website.

What Are Some Common Email Scams?

One of the most commonly-used avenues for unscrupulous individuals, emails can be made to look authentic in many ways – using trusted branding, urgent messaging, and coming from genuine-appearing addresses. These types of emails can also appear to come from personal friends, or even family.

When you receive a new, unsolicited email, always proceed with a skeptical eye. Attached files and links can look legitimate, but may lead to unwanted malware. Avoid clicking on links contained in this type of email – instead, manually navigate to the website via your favorite web browser to reach the intended webpage.

If you are uncertain as to whether an email is authentic, reach out to the person or company who sent the email directly using contact information from a reliable source (such as a company’s official website, product packaging, or contract information) to verify its contents.

What About Search Engine Results?

While search engines can be a helpful tool, be sure to carefully scrutinize the results that are displayed before you click any links. Ads and other illegitimate links can appear to be associated with authentic websites, but instead lead to copycat or other malicious sites.

How Do I Know If magicJack Is Contacting Me?

magicJack will never request sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information. We will not call or email you with requests to access your computer, and we do not offer virus protection plans or 10-year calling plans.

Visit our website at www.magicJack.com for our current product and service offerings and pricing.

Please report any suspicious activities by third parties representing themselves as magicJack to misrepresentation@magicJack.com.

How Can magicJack Help Keep Me Safe?

Your phone service is an integral part of your life – it’s what keeps you connected to your friends and family, after all! We at magicJack constantly strive to bring you new features that add both convenience and safety.

Call Blocking

Dealing with unwanted calls from the same number, over and over again? Take control with magicJack’s call blocking feature and pull the rug out from under these repeat offenders.

Simply log in to your my.magicjack.com portal, add the phone number to your Call Block List, and you’re done! When a number on this list tries to contact you, they will receive a busy signal, and your phone will not ring.

You can read more about call blocking here, or modify your Call Block List by signing in to the my.magicJack.com portal.

Automated Call Screening

For broader protection against nuisance calls, try our Automated Call Screening feature. When Automated Call Screening is enabled and a caller attempts to ring your magicJack phone number, they will be asked to dial a random one digit number. If the number is pressed, the call will ring normally on your magicJack line. However, when calls come from an automated service (like auto-dialed spam calls), it is unlikely the service will provide the requested digit and the call will be disconnected without ever ringing your line.

Read more about Automated Call Screening here, or activate now via your magicJack account.

Auto-Renew

Simplify your online payments by taking advantage of our quick and easy auto-renewal service. With auto-renewal, there’s no need to remember payment due dates or constantly re-enter sensitive payment information – just set it once, and you’re good to go.

Read more about auto-renew here, or activate now via the toggle in your magicJack account.