SENIORS AND TELEMARKETING FRAUD 101
U.S. Department of Justice. Across the USA.
"This booklet is designed to help you sort through these telemarketing offers so you can recognize which offers are on the up-and-up and which are probably scams. It will also tell you about a variety of things you can do if you get one of these calls, including the simplest thing of all - just hanging up."
"Telemarketing criminals sometimes work out of 'boiler rooms,' where many well-trained con artists work together. They may use the names and phone numbers on "sucker lists" of people who have responded to a previous telemarketing, Internet, or mail fraud scheme. These sucker lists are then sold back and forth. If you're on one, you're sure to be a repeat target. The trick is to follow the tips in this booklet and avoid getting listed in the first place."
The National Crime Prevention Council suggest the following on how seniors can deal with telemarketers and unwanted phone calls:
Never give personal information to someone on the phone such as social security number, credit card number, account numbers, date of birth, etc., unless you initiated the call and have confidence in the person or agency receiving the call.
- If telemarketer calls and asks for personal information an appropriate response may be: “I don’t give out personal information over the phone. I’ll contact the company directly and provide them with the necessary information. Then hang up.
- If a caller tells you he or she wants to give you something for free, then you shouldn’t have to pay to receive it. Often, the caller will tell you that you need to pay a handling charge or pay taxes on the prize, an appropriate response may be: “I shouldn’t have to send money for something that’s free.” Then hang up.
- So-called limited time offers should not require an immediate decision right then and there. A caller from a legitimate business will not rush you, so if you are considering dealing with someone who has contacted you over the phone, sleep on it for a day or two. While thinking it over, you may find a better offer or decide you don’t need or can’t afford whatever is being offered. An appropriate response may be “I’d like some time to think about this. Tell me how I can get in touch with you. If I’m interested, I’ll call you back.” or “If you can’t mail me the information, then I can’t talk to you.” Then hang up.
Seniors looking for how to reduce annoying phone and telemarketing calls can sign up with the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry
Other resources provided by the National Crime Prevention Council include informational brochures on the following topics to help keep seniors safe and prevent elder financial abuse:
Safer Seniors – senior home safety and safety when out in public
Use Common Sense to Spot a Con - cons, scams, and frauds disproportionately victimize seniors with false promises of miracle cures, financial security, and luxury prizes. One easy rule to remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Online Auction Fraud – fake merchandise, fake bids, failure to deliver goods, black market goods and more.
Senior Citizens Against Crime – crime against seniors at home, in public, assault, and con artists.
Avoiding Investment Scams Alert
The aim of the National Crime Prevention Council is to support safer communities by addressing the causes of crime and violence and reducing the opportunities for crime to occur.
WATCH VIDEO ON SENIOR TELEMARKETING FRAUD