Beware of seasonal phone scams

Beware of seasonal phone scams

By Karen Stiles. CREATED Dec 1, 2012

MILWAUKEE - When the weather gets cold, scam artists know that more people will be at huddled up at home, and more likely to pick up a ringing phone.

Scammers will use all kinds of schemes when they call to try to trick you into releasing personal information, or to get you to send money for bogus purposes.

Some of the scams include the "grandma or grandpa scam."

A scammer poses as a grandchild and tries to get a grandparent to wire money.

Another scam involves the scammer posing as a government official, stating that they are with Medicare or the IRS, and they try to trick people into releasing personal information.

There are also a number other phone scams that are popular this time of year, especially scams involving bank concerns or bogus charities.

To avoid getting taken, here is what you can do:

- If you suspect the call may be a scam, hang up.

Do not continue to play the game. Playing along can put you at risk for more phone scams.

- Before releasing personal information or wiring money, check things out by calling a family member or a local number for your bank or government agency.

- Screen phone calls before answering, and think twice before trusting the phone number listed on your caller ID.

- Trust your gut instinct. If something does not seem right or seems confusing, hang up and report the scam to consumer agencies and police.

Your information could help prevent others from getting taken.