A Nebraska phone scam is a dishonest scheme that uses telecommunications services like robocalls to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting Nebraskans.
The Nebraska Attorney General's Office is charged with protecting residents of the state from fraudulent practices. This office accomplishes this through its Consumer Protection Division, which allows Nebraskans to file complaints concerning deceptive business practices and report scam activities.
Phone scammers utilize several techniques to defraud Nebraskans. Some of the most common scams reported to the state’s Attorney General’s Office are:
- Grandparent Scams: These types of scams are targeted at older Nebraskans;
- Travel Club Scams: These types of scams promise alluring trips to Nebraskans;
- Financial Institution Scams: These types of scams aim to obtain banking information from Nebraskans;
- Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams: Scammers entice Nebraskans by claiming that they are the winners of a lottery or sweepstakes;
- Investment Scams: These types of scams promise alluring investment schemes;
- Government Lookalike Scams: These types of scams involve scammers pretending to be government officials;
- Tech Support Scams: In these types of scams, scammers gain access to Nebraskans’ PCs by pretending to be computer technicians;
- Charity Scams: Scammers target unsuspecting Nebraskans by pretending to be reputable charity organizations;
What are Nebraska Grandparent Scams?
In a Nebraska grandparent scam, an unsuspecting Nebraskan is contacted by a scammer pretending to be a grandchild or close relative. This scammer claims to be in trouble, most times in a different state or a foreign country. Sometimes the caller may pretend to be a law enforcement officer, doctor, attorney, or friend calling on behalf of the alleged grandchild or relative. The caller always insists that their targets do not contact the real parents of the person they are pretending to be.
Older Nebraskans can avoid becoming victims of grandparent scams by resisting the pressure to act quickly and contacting a close family member of the person the caller claims to be or represent. This is to verify whether the call is legitimate. Also, never wire any money before confirming that the story is real, especially if the caller claims to be in a foreign country.
What are Nebraska Travel Club Scams?
A Nebraska travel club scam is a type of scam that involves the scammer contacting unsuspecting Nebraskans and offering them deals on alluring trips to exotic locations. These scams are mostly targeted at senior citizens. Signs that a travel club deal might be a scam are if the travel benefits sound too good to be true and the travel agency cannot provide you with any verifiable references.
To avoid falling for this type of scam, never sign any contract without receiving an itemized list of what the trip offers. In addition, always compare the trip package with other packages and consult with friends and family before making any payments.
What are Nebraska Financial Institution Scams?
In Nebraska financial institution scams, Nebraskans are contacted by people that claim to be representatives of their financial institutions. These scammers may contact their victims through phone calls, text messages, or emails. When contacting their victims by phone, these scammers often use caller ID spoofing to make their calls appear like they are coming from their victims' financial institutions. These types of scams are aimed at obtaining personal account information like PINs and passwords.
The best way to avoid falling for this type of scam is by never disclosing sensitive information to an unknown caller or to a caller that you do not completely trust. Also, ignore and delete any texts or emails from financial institutions that require you to provide this type of information. Do not click any links in these messages.
What are Nebraska Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams?
In lottery and sweepstakes scams, scammers contact unsuspecting Nebraskans to tell them that they are the lottery winners. The scammers may also contact their targets through an official-looking letter that includes a reference number and contact information. This is done to make the winnings look official. When the contact number provided is called, the scammer tells the target that the payment of a fee is required before these winnings can be claimed.
Always ignore any lotteries or sweepstakes that require you to pay a fee before you can claim your winnings, especially if you cannot remember entering into any contest. In some cases, the scammer may send you a check and ask you to send a small fee back. Never do this.
What are Nebraska Investment Scams?
Nebraska investment scams are scams that promise Nebraskans low risk and high return investments. These scams are mostly targeted at senior citizens, and they are carried out by scammers that pose as legitimate investment professionals, estate planners, consultants, and salespeople. Sometimes, these scammers may try to obtain sensitive financial information by offering their targets a free financial analysis.
One way to avoid falling for this scam is by never sending money to someone who has only contacted you by phone. Properly research all investment opportunities and be wary of callers that insist you invest immediately.
What are Nebraska Government Impersonation Scams?
Scammers that carry out these types of scams do so by impersonating government officials and deceptively obtaining money and information from unsuspecting Nebraskans. A popular example of this scam is the IRS scam where scammers contact Nebraskans and obtain money from them by claiming that they owe back taxes or are entitled to refunds.
Be wary of any call from a government official that asks you to wire money for any reason or requests for your personal information. Always hang up if the caller threatens you in any way and contact the agency that the caller claims to represent. All government agencies have their contact details displayed on their official websites.
What are Nebraska Tech Support Scams?
Any unsolicited call from a person that claims to represent a well-known software provider or computer manufacturer is very likely to be a scam. In this type of scam, the callers claim that a virus or malware has infected their target’s PCs and that the only way this problem can be solved is by the target granting them remote access to their PC. The scammers typically use a lot of technical terms to confuse their targets. Once remote access is granted, the scammer takes control of the PC and either steals personal information or requests a fee to return the PC’s control to the victim.
The best way to avoid falling victim to a Nebraska tech support scam is by never granting remote access to your PC to any person you do not know personally.
What are Nebraska Charity Scams?
In Nebraska charity scams, scammers pretend to be soliciting funds on behalf of a charity. However, any donations made to these scammers are never sent to the charity. In some cases, the charity does not even exist.
To avoid falling for this scam, always ask for a brochure or donor form from the charity before making donations. Also, ask for a number that you can use to contact the charity. Never make any donations in cash or through wire transfers, and always make all donations payable to the charity, not to a person.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
Numerous scamming techniques are utilized by phone scammers, all aimed at deceptively obtaining money and sensitive information from innocent Nebraskans. You can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of a Nebraska phone scam by taking some steps. These steps include:
- Verify all callers that claim to be representatives of a government agency, financial institution, or well-known organization. These agencies and establishments always have their contact details displayed on their websites;
- Be wary of calls that have an air of urgency. Hang up if the caller tries to either pressure or threaten you into making a decision;
- Hang up if a caller requests sensitive personal information;
- Never wire money to people that you do not know personally;
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call List. This reduces the number of unsolicited calls you will receive;
- Block calls from unknown numbers. You can also download apps that allow you to perform phone lookups and reverse phone number lookup searches;
- Report all scams to the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. You can also make reports to the Federal Trade Commission.