The Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection has recently received reports from consumers indicating an uptick in these scam calls.
"You should never give out personal or financial information over the phone," Kane said. "It is imperative that consumers protect this information to avoid being victimized."
The scam starts with a call from someone claiming they are with your credit card company. The caller says a temporary hold or freeze has been placed on your account and you must call them back at the phone number they provide in order to reactivate your credit card. This call is usually in the form of a robocall.
In another similar scam, callers claim to be affiliated with software or technology companies and state the consumer's computer has been compromised. The caller attempts to remotely gain access to the consumer's computer to install spyware, which allows the caller to acquire control of the computer. Once that occurs, the consumer's computer is held hostage until a fee is paid to the caller.
Attorney General Kane offered the following tips to help prevent consumers from becoming victims of these scams:
- Never give out personal information over the telephone.
- Never give out billing information over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger.
- Never wire money or purchase green dot-type prepaid cash cards in response to a telephone appeal, whether it is from a stranger or someone who claims to know you.
- Never let emotion or fear overcome your common sense. If you get a call for money from a friend or relative, slow down and verify everything. Don't let anyone rush you.
- Never give out sensitive information to anyone on the phone unless you initiated the call to a company you are certain is legitimate.
- Never forget that you are in control. You can always hang up, find a company's number and call it directly.
Consumers can file a complaint regarding these or other scams by calling the Bureau of Consumer Protection's toll-free helpline number at 1-800-441-2555 or online at www.attorneygeneral.gov.