We get them all the time in Texas, spam calls. Random numbers that pop up on your phone, and they're relentless. Sometimes it's truly spam, things like an extended warranty for your car. Other times, they're calls designed to spook you or make you think something is wrong.

Calls saying you're going to be sued if you don't pay an old debt, even though they can't tell you what the debt is or who they're with. Other times they pose as someone from say UPS saying your package is being held up and they need some info from you to get it to you.

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Most of the time, these numbers are spoofed. What do I mean? Well, they call from a number that mask the phone number they're actually calling from so they can disguise it. A lot of times when your phone rings, it'll show you the number, then either the location they're calling from or a business or personal name.

Don't let any of that fool you! There are so many different signs to watch for, and truthfully they're easy to pick up on. There's also a bank of area codes that these scammers like to use, and we'll get to those in a minute.

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash


Ok, so the way this one works is you'll get a call. Most of the time, we're expecting packages with the ease of online ordering of things. Someone on the other line will say there's been an issue with delivering your package. Because we want the things we order, we tend to listen.

They'll be extremely generic about it when talking to you. They won't typically tell you where the package is from or where it's coming from, just that there's been an issue with delivery. That's when they hit you with the old, "in order to deliver this to you, we just need to verify some info" and they'll ask you for your credit card info.

The second you hear that, hang up. No delivery service is going to ask you on the phone for your credit card info.

Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash
Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash


This is one of the more popular ones. Reason being is a lot of us have old debt we either didn't realize was laying around, or new debt that we just took on. They don't need to know anything about a debt to call you. They'll be extremely vague about what they're trying to get their hands on.

Sometimes they'll pull out a random company, credit card, or loan place and try to attach it to it. The thing about these calls is they don't just say 'hey, we noticed you're behind on payments", they'll tell you it's severely delinquent and they're either collecting money today, or sending you to court.

Here's the red flags to watch out for on this one. First, they can't threaten a lawsuit or arrest. If they do, they're breaking FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) laws, and you in turn can flip it right back on them by suing them...if you can figure out who it is.

Next thing you're listening for is if they can tell you anything about the item they're supposedly collecting on. If it's a legitimate call, they'll have all the possible info you could ask for. If it's a scam, they'll get defensive about it and refuse to answer questions. Don't fall for something generic.

Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash
Photo by Morgan Lane on Unsplash


These scammers will call from just about any area code or number, but there are some areas that are far more popular than others for whatever reason. These are the area codes that when they pop up on your phone, it's probably best to let it roll to voicemail.

216 - Cleveland, Ohio
469 - Dallas, Texas
657 - La Palma, California
332 - New York City
347 - New York City
646 - New York City
218 - Northern Minnesota
712 - Western Iowa

You can see the most popular area is New York City. They have quite a few different area codes, so plenty to choose from. Not to mention there are a TON of businesses that operate out of NYC, so it comes across more "believable" I suppose.

Now not ALL calls that come from these area codes are scams, but there is a high likelihood that's what it is.

Another thing to watch out for is international area codes. Most of us don't know anyone personally overseas, so these calls are typically ones we avoid anyway. I laugh when I see a Netherlands phone number pop up on my phone. I almost with they'd leave a voicemail, but they never do. Best practice here is to just avoid international numbers altogether.

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