Fax Back: Phone Scam Overview
Many businesses still use faxes to send important information. Though this scam isn't as common as it once was, it can still be a threat to business owners. We'll go over the basics of this scam and how you can avoid it.
How the Fax Back Phone Scam Works
You receive a fax requesting some general information be faxed back to the recipient. You or your assistant fill out the information and send it back to the fax number listed on the document. Everything seems normal, but at the end of the month your phone bill is much higher than usual.
What could have caused this spike in your bill? The answer is that fax. What you thought was a normal fax number was actually a hotline number that was charging you from the minute you dialed it. The fax that they request to be sent is usually quite long, so the scammers are able to charge you for several minutes.
How to Avoid This Scam
There are a couple of ways that your business can avoid this scam.
Do your research.
Before you send a fax back to a new recipient double check their fax number. You can do this by running a reverse number lookup. Running this quick search will allow you to confirm that the number is legitimate and not a hotline number.
Avoid any numbers that start with 900.
Hotline numbers in the United States start with the first three digits 9-0-0. These numbers can charge several dollars for the first minutes and then a dollar for each consecutive minute. Though not as popular as they once were, 900 numbers were very common in the 80s and 90s and commercials for their services were frequently broadcasted on TV. These hotlines provided everything from Saturday afternoon cartoon character voices for children, psychic readings, and adult entertainment.
How to Report This Scam
Unlike many other scams this one is pretty innocent, but it can still cost you money if you're not careful. Always remember to not share sensitive information with any unknown organization and check unknown numbers before you call, text, or fax them back.
If your business has been targeted by this scam you can contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the incidence. The FTC has specific rules which apply to 900 numbers, these were designed to protect consumers.