If you own a cell phone, this news won't come as much of a shock: a new study says nearly half of all cell phone calls will be scams by 2019.

First Orion, a company that creates caller ID and call-blocking technology, says that scam calls to US cells phones increased from 3.7% of total calls in 2017 to 29.2% in 2018—and that number is projected to reach 44.6% by early 2019.

"There are a number of techniques scammers use to get people to pick up the phone, but the most popular method is known as “Neighborhood Spoofing,” which happens when a scammer disguises their phone number and displays it as a local number on a user’s caller ID. For example, a scammer may spoof their phone number to match the area code and 3-digit prefix of the person they are targeting and ultimately increase the likelihood of someone answering," according to Orion. When you call that number back, the person has no knowledge of the call.

No word on how many of those will be the weird grammatically-incorrect calls that threaten to "call the local cops on the four charges pressing on you" like I just got. Do people really fall for those types of scams? I doesn't even sound like the person has a grasp on the English language. 

How can you protect yourself from these cell-phone scam calls?

  • Add your name to the Do Not Call Registry. It won't help with scammers, but it will lessen the calls from telemarketers.
  • Download an app like Nomorobo, First Orion, Hiya, Robokiller, or Mr. Number which will help screen scam calls from your phone.
  • Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize. As your mother would say, "If it's important, they'll leave a message."
  • Opt out of all advertising mailing lists with DMA Choice.

Keep in mind that scammers will often try to target the elderly, since they tend to be more vulnerable. If you have elderly parents or grandparents, talk to them about potential scams, and ask them if anyone has asked them for money recently.

Educate yourself:

  • No legitimate agency or organization will demand you to issue a payment using gift cards, or iTunes cards.
  • The IRS doesn't call you to tell you you're in trouble. They'll send you certified mail.
  • You will not have to pay taxes on any prize winnings BEFORE you receive the prize.

(H/T simplemost.com)