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Telephone Fraud

Telephone fraud is one of the most common types of fraud committed in the United States today.  In order to protect yourself, it is important to be familiar with some of the most common scenarios that fraudsters use when contacting unsuspecting consumers. 

The following are a few examples:

  • Free Prize Offers: Businesses are not in business to give things away. If you are offered a free prize but are required to pay for shipping or handling, be wary. Don’t be afraid to ask for the exact value of the prize. And never give away a credit card number or other personal or financial information if you’re unsure of the situation.

  • Investment Offers: Always be wary of accepting investment advice or agreeing to invest in anything over the phone. Listen for phrases such as "no risk" and "you must act now."

  • Travel Offers: Low-cost travel offers can seem like a great deal, but travel deals peddled over the phone often require very specific and hard to meet obligations such as only traveling on a certain date, or joining a "club" that costs money.

  • Credit-Related: If you receive a call suggesting ways you can instantly fix your bad credit or receive large cash advances, just hang up.

  • "900" Numbers: "900" numbers charge you by the minute or by the call, and although many businesses behind "900" numbers are legitimate, many are not. Always check your phone bill carefully to make sure you are not charged for a service you did not purchase.


Most importantly, never be afraid to hang up. You have no obligation to continue listening to a telemarketer or salesperson if you don’t want to, or if you feel uncomfortable in any way.

If you ever believe any information related to your SAFE account(s) has been compromised, contact SAFE immediately at (916) 979-SAFE or (800) SEE-SAFE.

If you have questions about telephone fraud in general, contact the National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) at (800) 876-7060 or visit their website at www.fraud.org .

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