Houstonians: On-Call to Head Off Phone Fraud

July 27, 2012

Seniors should be aware that phone fraud is a growing trend among scammers and new gimmicks are being tried every day.  As a prevalent tool in our society, the telephone makes an easy and accessible tool for fraudulent telemarketers.

A list from information collected from the National Association of Triads, the Home Instead Senior Care® network and local FBI offices helps warn about different phone fraud tips and tricks to bilk seniors and other residents from their savings.

Families can help protect seniors from scams such as phone fraud by staying in close contact

  1. Don’t give personal information over the phone. Fraudsters may say they represent your bank or other institution and imply that your credit card or account information has been jeopardized.
  2. Don’t trust that people are who they say they are.  Some scammers pretend to be the police.  Police will contact victims in person.
  3. Be wary of unexpected calls.  Reputable callers will not ask for sensitive information over the phone.
  4. Beware of statements such as, “You MUST act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be valid.”  “You must send money, give a credit car or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.”  Take your time when considering an offer, a valid offer will be there the next day.
  5. Don’t pay for a “prize”.  If the callers says she is collecting payment for taxes, hang up.
  6. Obtain a telemarketer’s name, business name, telephone number, and business license number so that you may verify the information before you act.  Con artists give out false information.
  7. Don’t buy over the phone from an unfamiliar company.  Check out unknown companies with the Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center or other groups.
  8. Never respond to an offer you don’t understand.
  9. Don’t be a afraid to stop a caller if he is selling something you don’t want.  Say, “I never buy anything over the phone”, or “I’m sorry and I’m hanging up”.  Then hang up.
  10. If you have been a victim, be cautious of additional help to recover your losses if there is a fee paid in advance.

Do you have a special tip that can help seniors avoid becoming victims of fraud?  Please share with our readers!

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