Wisconsin Phone Number Lookup

What are Wisconsin Phone Scams?

Phone scams are used by fraudsters to con Wisconsin residents out of their money and to steal their personal information. Their deviousness may range from pretending to be your bank to selling you fake products or services that will never arrive. Note that not every unwanted call is a phone scam. Some unsolicited calls are from legitimate companies who have purchased your contact information to make research or marketing calls.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) provides support for phone scam victims. The DATCP also provides a consumer protection fact sheet highlighting useful tips and alerts on popular phone scams perpetrated in the state. Consumers can call the toll-free hotline at (800) 422-7128 or send request emails to [email protected].

Common phone scams in Wisconsin include:

  • Credit card and loan scam - Here, the scammer offers predatory loans and credit card protections to targets
  • Charitable scam - Here, the scammer poses as a representative of a charity organization and requests donations and gifts.
  • Business/investment scam - Here, the scammer proposes a bogus business idea and solicits investments
  • Car warranty scam - Here, the scammer deceives victims into buying worthless car insurances at exorbitant prices
  • Scams involving debt relief and credit repair - Here, the fraudster promises to reduce interest rates on credit cards and student loans for a "small" fee.
  • Voice phishing scam - Here, the scammer impersonates a real business to lure unwitting victims into giving away sensitive personal or financial information.
  • Tech support scam - Here, the scammer asks for remote access to help the victim fix a computer error. The scammers steal sensitive information and install spyware to monitor the victim

What are Wisconsin IRS Scams?

The perpetrators of IRS scams are individuals claiming to be IRS employees who make unsolicited phone calls to taxpayers in Wisconsin. These scammers use the threat of arrest or deportation to obtain money from victims by falsely representing that the victims owe certain fees or back taxes. They demand that victims must pay through iTunes cards, money orders, wire transfer, and prepaid debit cards.

Even when a strange caller knows some digits of your social security number and their caller ID indicates that they are from the IRS, they may not be legitimate. Caller IDs can be falsified with phone spoofing. Besides, some of these calls have been found to originate beyond the shores of the United States. The IRS advises Wisconsin residents to be aware of the tactics used by many of these scammers and lists several tell-tale signs of IRS scams on its website. The IRS will not ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards and will first contact you about unpaid taxes by mail, not by phone.

What are Wisconsin Tech Support Scams?

Tech support scammers exploit the fears of computer users who believe that their computers have been compromised. The scammers offer to fix made-up problems for a fee. Typically, a tech support scam begins with a sudden or persistent pop-up on the computer screen or a spontaneous phone call from a "technician" claiming to have identified problems with your computer. Sometimes, the computer may give several high-pitched squeals or alarms and then appear to freeze up. In other situations, the warning looks like an error generated by the computer itself or a "blue screen of death", reminiscent of when a computer completely crashes. The scammer provides a phone number for you to call in the displayed warning which makes it look like they represent reputable tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, HP, and Dell.

Once connected to the toll-free number provided, a "technician" offers to fix the problem if you grant remote access to the computer and agree to pay a fee, usually about $500. The technician may describe the fee as inclusive of a tune-up and an antivirus software. If remote access is granted, the technician seemingly runs a series of diagnostic tests and fixes which may run into hours. During that period, your sensitive information such as passwords and bank account details may be stolen. The scammer may also install spyware to keep monitoring your computer remotely.

What are Wisconsin Voice Phishing Scams?

Voice phishing scams are phone scams whereby fraudsters trick victims into divulging personal, financial, and security details or transferring money over calls they believe are coming from reputable sources. Voice phishing scams usually start with the scammer trying to verify that a phone number is still active. Once a victim answers the phone, their contact number is passed along for more aggressive tactics. Voice phishing scams can become so sophisticated that a scammer personalizes an attack to an individual target. You may become a potential victim if your personal information has been leaked somewhere online through a data breach.

Voice phishing scammers use auto-dialers to call as many people as possible. A real person comes onto the line once a victim answers the call. The real person then pretends to be an authority figure who describes a problem to lure the victim into giving away sensitive data such as credit card information. Usually, voice phishing scammers are looking for information that will grant access to victims’ bank accounts.

What are Wisconsin Emergency Scams?

In emergency scams, fraudsters pose as relatives or friends in need of urgent financial aid to get out of difficult situations. Grandparents are the typical victims of emergency scams. Common troubles emergency scammers claim to be in include getting out of jail, paying hospital bills, and needing to come home from foreign countries. The victim may also receive another call from the scammer’s cohort. The other caller pretends to be a police officer or a lawyer. You may even hear the "grandchild" in the background of the phone conversation with the "lawyer" or "police officer", trying to get you to volunteer personal information. The "grandchild" also asks that the trouble and the help rendered be kept a secret to stop other members of the family from finding out what transpired. Scammers running this con usually want their victims to send money via wire transfers

How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?

  • Use reverse phone lookup services to identify unknown callers
  • Do not respond to missed calls from numbers that you do not recognize
  • Do not trust the caller ID on your phone's display. With spoofing, scammers can now falsify caller IDs and make their calls look like they are coming from trusted sources
  • Do not give away sensitive personal or financial data such as passwords, PINs, credit, or debit cards over the phone regardless of who the caller claims to be.
  • Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize
  • Avoid transferring or wiring refunds for overpayments, made via checks, back to anyone you do not know
  • Hang up on robocalls. Do not select or press any button to speak to a live agent
  • Avoid giving in to distress or pressure in emergency calls. Do not make any decision in a hurry. Try to listen for familiar voices during these calls and contact other family members to verify claims made by the callers
  • Conduct your own research. If you receive a call from a company or agent that tries to sell a product, charity, or service, go online to confirm that it is not associated with a scam
  • Sign up for free scam alerts directly into your inbox with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Report scammers to local law enforcement agencies and the FTC
  • Add your contact number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Although the FTC’s registry cannot stop scam calls, the number of unsolicited calls will greatly reduce