If you’re planning on making international calls, you’ll need to purchase an international phone card. But beware – there are many scams out there that can leave you with an unusable card and a lighter wallet. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to avoid the most common international phone card scams.
The Different Types of International Phone Card Scams
Expiration Date Scams
One type of international phone card scam is the expiration date scam. In this type of scam, the company will sell you a card with an expiration date that is much shorter than the actual expiration date. For example, you might purchase a card that expires in 1 year, but find out later that the card actually expires in 6 months. This can be very frustrating, especially if you have already paid for minutes that you will not be able to use.
Alternatively, you can purchase an international phone card that has already expired, in most cases this will happen when you get one from general stores like supermarkets, newsagents, etc. since phone cards are slow moving stock, they can expire well before someone actually purchases it.
The good news, though, is that general retailers will not have a problem refunding your money back.
Daily maintenance fees
Another type of international phone card scam is the daily maintenance fee. This means that the company will charge you a daily fee once it has been activated which is typically once you make your first phone call.
These can be daily, weekly or monthly charges.
While some people may not be too concerned about this, it can really eat into your balance which ultimately increase the per minute rate of your calls due to your balance constantly being eaten away.
For example, you might purchase a $5 card, but find out later that there is a $0.10 daily fee. This means that after 10 days, your $5 card will be worth $4 without even making a call.
“Redirection scams aren’t necessarily a scam that is put in place by the phone card company but is more a result of that phone card company using cheap carrier lines to connect your calls.” PhoneCardChoice.com.
Here’s how it works.
You make a call overseas but that call is redirected to another “person”, they answer and they will typically repeat back the words “hello?” this is just a recording and designed to keep you on the line which is draining your phone card balance.
Other times, it may be music that plays. It’s worth noting that just because you hear music playing does not always mean that it’s redirection scam, since some countries will actually play music or even advertisements instead of a ring tone.
If this happens then do not make another call, since it is likely you’ll be redirected to the same recording again, instead call up the phone card service and ask them to either:
- Re-credit your balance and resolve the issue, or;
- Refund your money.
As I said this isn’t a scam that the phone card service is running, it’s due to that phone card provider using cheap carrier lines.
Finally, the fee everyone is aware of the connection fee.
What is a connection fee? A connection fee is a small fee that is charged on the successful connection of a phone call.
My advice avoid cards that come with a connection fee unless the per minute rate is lower than the other phone cards.
Sometimes phone cards that come with a connection fee offer much lower per minute calling rates which benefits people who typically make longer calls.
This would be the only reason to purchase a phone card that comes with a connection fee.
How to Avoid International Phone Card Scams
Do Your Research
Before you purchase an international phone card, do your research to ensure that you are getting a good deal. Compare rates from different companies and read customer reviews to learn about other people’s experiences.
In cases where this is not possible my best piece of advice would be to call the company’s customer support line this will give you a much better idea of the professionalism of the company.
Read the Fine Print
When you find a good deal on an international phone card, be sure to read the fine print before you purchase it. Look for hidden fees, such as connection fees or maintenance fees, that can eat into your minutes quickly.
Check for a Money-Back Guarantee
If a company offers a money-back guarantee, this is a good sign that they are confident in their product and are less likely to scam you. Be sure to check the terms of the guarantee before you purchase the card, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Use a Reputable Company
There are many reputable companies that sell international phone cards, so be sure to use one of them. Avoid companies that have been known to scam customers in the past or that don’t have a good reputation in the industry.
Again, I would highly recommend giving this company a call to see how they handle your questions, how responsive they are overall.
When buying an international phone card, it is important to be aware of the different types of scams that exist. These include expiration date scams, daily maintenance fees, redirection scams and connection fees. By doing your research, reading the fine print and checking for a money-back guarantee, you can avoid these scams. Use a reputable company to buy your international phone card to further reduce the risk of being scammed.