The Planner's Perspective: Staying Safe On The Phone

Paul Morrone |

By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA

With sophisticated anti-virus software, threat detection mechanisms, spam filters and electronic aids fighting against cyberthreats in real time, many criminals are turning to much older and trusted methods of communication to victimize unsuspecting individuals. On a monthly basis, there are over three billion, yes billion, robocalls dialed, each with the malicious intent of fraud and theft. These range from the falsified IRS scams to calls about lowering your credit card interest rate, many of which initially seem harmless.

We think nothing about answering our phone and even persistently say “hello” multiple times if we don’t get an instant response from a party on the other side. There’s something about hearing a voice on the other end of the line that is comforting and trusting, which unfortunately leaves room for someone to exploit our vulnerabilities using one of the oldest methods of long-distance communication. Below are 5 tips to help you remain vigilant next time an unknown phone number pops up on your caller ID:

  • You will never receive a call or voicemail from the IRS, despite what may be told to you by the voice on the other end of the phone. They may also threaten you with statements about ‘a warrant is out for your arrest’ in an effort to get you to respond out of fear. These are fraudulent and should be disregarded and reported to the FCC at the following address:
  • Hang up (and block, if possible) all robo calls that come to your phone, engaging in conversation with a robot or person on the other line may lead to your number being sold to other scammers who now know the number is active.
  • Register your home and cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the amount of telemarking calls you receive at
  • Do not give out your PII over the phone without first verifying the individual on the other end of the phone, if possible, obtain and verify a call-back number to ensure the source is legitimate
  • Use blocking features on mobile devices to block calls from known robo sources

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Tracking # 1-761648