Scam calls are becoming pretty easy to identify these days. If you’re calling my cell phone from a number I don’t recognize, I’m immediately skeptical. As a rule, those unknown numbers get hung up on and blocked immediately. But after seeing how Fox 5 DC’s Jeannette Reyes handled an annoying scam caller, I think I need to get more creative.
The Caller Claimed She Owed A Huge Bill
Reyes, known as @msnewslady on Instagram and TikTok, recently shared a video that detailed how she handled a scam caller. The clip begins with the news anchor telling the camera that she was getting annoyed with a certain scammer, so she decided to have some fun.
She answered the scammer’s call, who identified himself as “Jason O’Neill.” He told Reyes that he was calling in regards to “an outstanding warrant” he had for her arrest due to “an outstanding balance on [her] account of $2,792.33.”
“I didn’t know about that. Can I just pay for it now?,” Reyes asks.
O’Neill was more than happy to tell Reyes that she could easily clear up the matter if she “made a payment with a debit or credit card of at least $2,500.”
She then proceeds to tell him that she has a card ready with her name on it. But when he asked for the number, he got a surprising response.
So She ‘Goes Lives’
Reyes starts out by saying “3,2,1…” then she fights back with a scheme of her own. She lets O’Neill believe that he’s live on TV.
“Good evening, we are live on television right now with an investigation into scam callers,” Reyes says in her news voice. “We have the FBI on the line. They are tracking this phone number as we speak. Sir, what is your full name again?”
The next sound from her phone was of someone quickly hanging up, followed by a couple of quick beeps. Then, silence.
All Reyes could do was laugh.
Tips To Spot A Phone Scammer
Getting a call from an unknown number should already have you on alert. But there are other clues that can help you identify a phone scammer, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- If you have to pay money to get a “prize” that you’ve been “selected” for, then that’s not a prize. Don’t do it.
- You will not get arrested, fined, or deported if you don’t immediately pay a debt. Real law enforcement officers and federal agencies do not call and threaten people.
- You don’t have to decide right now. An offer from a legitimate business doesn’t come with immediate pressure. An unsolicited offer doesn’t require a decision on the spot.
- Anyone asking you to wire money, share your bank account info, or use your debit or credit card over the phone–especially someone you don’t know and didn’t call–is a scammer. Anyone who asks you to pay for something by putting money on a gift card, a prepaid card, or a cash reload card, or using a money transfer app, is a scammer.
- Government agencies will not call you to confirm sensitive information.
The FTC has a ton of info about how to spot a phone scam, as well as what to do if you’re a victim. To report a phone scam you’ve lost money to, visit ReportFraud.ftc.gov. To report a scam caller (even though you didn’t lose money) check out DoNotCall.gov.