According to the Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs, unwanted telephone calls to consumers increased 128% from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019.

These mostly robocalls can represent annoying interruptions, or they can be dangerous scams that are designed to steal victims’ money or identities. A new trend has been identified called “the neighbor scam.”

Spoofing technology allows a clever scammer to make his number appear to be local, making it more likely the recipient will answer. The scammer placing the call, usually from outside the country, hopes consumers think they recognize the number as familiar even though it’s not a number saved in their phone.

Common phone scams include the IRS scam, the utility scam, the grandparent scam, the charity scam, the computer cold call repair scam and, of course, the Social Security Administration scam.

Consumer Affairs advises the best defense against these phone scams is a healthy amount of skepticism. Scammers generally try to scare their victims, or they promise them something that’s just too good to be true.

Consumers should not hesitate to hang up when they hear a recorded voice, even if it looks like a local call.

Consumer Affairs can be reached at (845) 340-3260

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