Dialing Wrong Numbers Can Cost You

Dialing wrong numbers can cost you a pretty penny!

Fraudsters refer to it as “Fat Finger Dialing”.  It is a scheme in which unscrupulous vendors purchase phone numbers that are just one or two digits different from legitimate numbers.

It starts when people start dialing wrong numbers that they think are the phone numbers of their bank, a business or the IRS. But instead, they actually accidentally dialed the wrong toll-free area code. The trick is easily pulled off by scammers taking advantage of all the toll-free area codes like 800, 866 or 888.

Imposters are buying up massive amounts of toll-free prefix phone numbers with the identical seven-digit number of a legitimate company, but with a different 3-digit toll-free area code.

Most major companies and Government Agencies use toll-free prefixes, so that consumers can call them without incurring long distant toll charges. Fraudsters are taking full advantage of this by replacing 888 or 866 prefixes with the actual legitimate 800 toll-free number of a company, a vendor or a Government entity.

So, when people dial the correct seven digit number, but misdial the area code, they are being spoofed by a scam artist. The person on the other end of the line is an imposter who is impersonating the real entity you thought you had called.

Their goal is to mislead you into giving up your personal or financial information. Callers may be told that they are eligible for a survey or that they won a prize. Some offer low-cost medical devices, magazine renewals, insurance plans, travel packages, etc.

And this is all legal as long as the person at the receiving end of the call, doesn’t misrepresent themselves by saying that they’re affiliated with the entity the consumer intended to dial. If you initiated the call, then your call is exempt from Telemarketing and “Do Not Call List” rules.


  1. Always double check the phone number you are dialing to be sure it’s correct.
  2. Always hang up the phone if the operator doesn’t mention the company or organization by name and begins to solicit you with products or asks for personal or financial info.
  3. Be wary of freebie offers or claims of being a prize winner – but are first required to provide your payment information or asked to pay with a gift card or pre-paid debit card.
  4. Never provide your date of birth, social security or medical ID number over the phone to anyone.
  5. Make copies of the front and back of your debit and credit cards so you have the correct toll-free numbers on them, if the card is ever lost or stolen.


PHISHING EMAILS – You’re the Fish

When it comes to Phishing Emails – You’re the Fish!

It’s always Phishing Season for Fraudsters. Phishing attacks use emails and sometimes text messages or malicious websites to get information from their victims. The ruse is an attempt to lure you, under the pretense of a problem or an emergency, to click on a link or open an attachment. There is usually a circumstance that is presented to you that requires your attention and your follow-thru, in order to resolve an immediate problem or issue. The emails claim that there will be dire consequences if you ignore the message.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails often have the look and feel of authentic communications. Company logos are easily cloned and used in fake phishing emails. Inconsistent or incorrect spelling and grammar are also a tell-tale sign of phishing emails.

Most legitimate emails from businesses would include your name and/or the last few digits of your account number. An email from a friend or family member should be personal in nature. These targeted messages can trick even the most cautious person into doing something that may compromise them. Even if the email is from a known source, people should use caution, because Cybercriminals are very good at mimicking trusted businesses, or even friends and family.

Phishing Emails are Designed to Infect a Victim’s Computer with Malware.

You want to avoid getting Malware installed on your computer.  Infections can result in your downloading keystroke-logging software that enables a scammer to steal information from you as you type passwords or account numbers on a website.

Malware also gives the cybercriminal the ability to use the email addresses of everyone in your email program to spread SPAM to all of them. Your friends and family may be fooled into believing the SPAM email is safe (because it’s from you); and will therefore click on a tainted link or infected attachment in the email.


  • Never click on links or open/download attachments – unless you are 110% sure AND have confirmed that they are legitimate.
  • If you receive what appears to be a phishing email or text, always go directly to the source (not the info in an email) to confirm that this is not a scam.
  • Hover you mouse over the sender’s address. You may see that the email address is not consistent with the name of the company or it may be a long string of numbers and symbols that don’t make sense.
  • If calling a business to confirm the email’s legitimacy, be sure to call the correct phone number. In some instances, fraudsters will purchase phone numbers that are only one digit off from those of a legitimate company. These fake (usually toll-free numbers) are an effort to trap people who may mistakenly dial an incorrect number or area code of a bank, credit card issuer, or other legitimate organization.
  • Suspicious emails should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by forwarding the email to spam@uce.gov.  Be sure to report it to the legitimate organization that the email pretends to originate from. You can also report it to your email provider. Once you’ve done that, you should always delete the tainted email from your computer.