Another phone scam targets Verizon customers
Here's a warning for Verizon subscribers. Actually, this warning is for everyone with a smartphone, a tablet, and even a smartwatch. Yesterday, this writer received a phone call that was allegedly from Verizon Wireless. Even though we missed the call, thanks to Google Assistant's ability to transcribe messages, we could read the message which said, "Dear Verizon Wireless Customer your account have (sic) been suspended for verification to reactivate your account please press one to speak with a customer service representative.
The glaring red flag that should have immediately had you suspicious of the call
Note the incorrect use of the word "have" instead of "has." That is a huge red flag since most large corporations won't make mistakes like that. If you get a spam text, Verizon prefers that instead of immediately deleting it, you copy the message and sent it to Verizon at "Spam" or 7726. In this case, the message was transcribed from a bogus phone call, but we will send it anyway. Verizon will use the information you send to help it find the spammer and stop him from continuing to put Verizon customers' financial wellbeing at risk.
Google Assistant transcribes a scam phone call pretending to be from Verizon
The goal is to get you to reveal some personal information such as a social security number or a bank account number, or even your Verizon account number and sign-in info. With all of that information at their disposal, criminals with malicious intent could order expensive new devices and accessories and stick you with the bill.
Remember to never give away any personal information no matter how dire the situation sounds. Even if you are threatened with an account suspension, keep in mind that Verizon is not going to turn off your service that quickly. If you can't remember whether you made last month's payment, or definitely know that you have yet to pay and the message on the phone tries to convince you that your account is suspended, do not believe it without checking it out for yourself. And do not call any phone number that is included in the message.
Last month Verizon shut down another malicious scam call operation
What you should do if you receive such a call or text is to independently get a phone number for Verizon from a previous bill, by asking your digital assistants like Siri or Google Assistant, or by calling a Verizon store. Once connected to a legitimate Verizon representative, explain exactly what happened. Last month Verizon said that it shut down a scam operation that made it appear as though spam calls were coming from the victim's own phone number.
It pays to be on alert but also you can't be too much of a wise guy. For example, a few years ago, we received a text message from Verizon that demanded some personal information and due to a spelling error, we were going to ignore it. But we called the company anyway and the message turned out to be legit. So rather than ignoring a message like this, you should call your carrier anyway just to be sure.
This type of ripoff isn't limited to Verizon customers so you should be cautious no matter who your wireless provider is. For some reason, Verizon customers seem to targeted the most. It is possible that as the largest mobile carrier in the U.S., scammers believe that the odds favor that calls they make randomly are more likely to find a Verizon customer that they can scam.
One last option you might want to try is to block the offending number that the call came from. On Android, open the Phone app and tap on Recents at the bottom of the page. Scroll down the list until come to the scam call and long-press on the phone number. A menu will pop-up; tap on "Block."
On iOS, open the Phone app and tap the recents tab. Find the number you want to block and press on the circled "i" icon. A menu will appear. Tap on "Block."