The Rise of the Scam Call 

Dylan Enerson, Reporter

I remember being harassed, almost daily, by scams and robocalls years ago. I had gotten nearly every trick in the book as random phone numbers poured into my cellphone attempting to procure anything from my social security number to something as small as the make and model of my car. For the first year or so I remember enjoying the calls. If I was bored, I could always rely on messing with the scammers on the other side of the call for a few minutes until they realized I had no interest in whatever they were trying to sell, at which point they hung hang up without another word. There came a point though, that the calls became more a nuisance than a fun prank I could pull. I got tired of pulling my phone from my pocket just to see a random number for me to send to voicemail.  

As college students, many of us have signed up for a long list of programs that require our sensitive information so the right script and acting from the scammer can be a large threat to college students. Whether they are pretending to be a student loan servicer, a card servicer, or even the University itself, scam calls can be incredibly convincing. These scam calls make the callers millions of dollars every year by preying on the panic and worry of those they dial. Therefore, it is important to check, double check, and triple check before giving any information over the phone and to do whatever you can to keep your personal contact information off the internet.  

The most important thing I have been taught is to never say “yes” over the phone unless you are sure of who you are talking to. Scammers have been known to record your words and piece together audio clips of you agreeing to a service that you have never heard of.   

Secondly, most organizations, such as federal and financial agencies, will email you instead of calling you so if one of these groups is calling you that is already a red flag. If you are on the phone and they ask for your information, ask them to verify that they are who they say they are because, after all, they were the ones who called you.  

Lastly, try to find a program to filter or identify potential spam calls. Typically, your cellular provider will offer a program on the app store to filter calls or identify them based on their caller ID as a scam. If you have a Google or Android phone there is also an option to have google assistant pick up and screen your call for you while giving you a transcript of what was said. I have found this feature incredibly useful in saving my own time when dealing with spam calls.  

In an age of ever-increasing digital presence, it is more important than ever to make sure that your information is safe and that you are aware of how it is being used. With information more easily accessible to yourself that also means that information is more easily accessible to everyone else as well.   

Dylan Enerson is a Dakota Student Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].