Every year, thousands of people lose money to phone scams and one Bridge City couple was not exempt from receiving calls from scammers trying to bilk money from them.

The Bridge City woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she recently received a phone call from a man claiming to be from Medicare. He informed her they were about to send out new cards, but needed information from her first. He asked several questions such as to verify her address and telephone number. He also asked for her bank account information. When she told him she did not know it, he told her to go get the information. She refused to give him anymore information and he became loud and angry.

‘He started hollaring at me, “ I need that number! “ she said.

The woman hung up the phone and called her bank about the incident. She also called the local police department and Medicare to inform them of the call.

She added, her husband also received a call. But, he was busy at the time and asked for a phone number to return their call. The caller immediately hung up.

Telephone scammers are good at what they do. They say anything to cheat people out of their money and they may call and imply that they work for a trusted company, or they may send mail or place ads to convince people to call them. Some seem very friendly by calling people by their first name, making small talk, and asking about their family. These are ploys to ease any suspicions, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Anyone who gets a call from someone they don’t know and who is trying to sell them something they don’t need, say “No thanks.” In addition, if the caller pressures a person into giving up personal information like a credit card or Social Security number,  it’s likely a scam. Everyone is advised to hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Additional guidelines provided by the FTC include, for people to resist the pressure to make a decision immediately. They should also keep their credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers to themselves. Also, don’t confirm any numbers.

Don’t pay for something just because of  a “free gift.” In addition, get all information in writing before there is an agreement to buy something. Plus, don’t agree to any offer for which it is required to pay a “registration” or “shipping” fee to get a prize or a gift.

People are also encouraged to check out a charity before the donation is made and to ask how much of the donation actually goes to the charity. Also, ask the caller to send written information so an informed decision can be made without being pressured, rushed, or guilted into it.

If the offer is an investment, check with a local state securities regulator to see if the offer and the offerer is properly registered.

There is also a  scam where a person is asked to send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If  cash is used or wire money rather than a credit card in the transaction, the right to dispute fraudulent charges may be lost and the money will be gone. Research unsolicited offers with the consumer protection agency or state Attorney General’s office before an agreement to send money.

A scam on top of a scam is from scammers who offer to “help”  recover money already lost. Callers saying they are law enforcement officers who will help get  money back “for a fee” are scammers too.

Say “no thanks” and hang up the phone. Anyone who doesn’t want a business to call again, simply say so. If they call back, they’re breaking the law, according to the FTC.

It is also recommended, to register home and mobile phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. This won’t stop all unsolicited calls, but it will stop most. If the number is on the registry and people are still getting calls, they are likely to be from scammers ignoring the law.

Report any caller who is rude or abusive, even if money has already been sent. They’ll want more. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint.