Phone Scams: Fight Back
What should you do if you've been a victim of a phone scam? What can different law enforcement agencies do? What can't they do? Here are some important tips.
Scheming telemarketers often target older Americans: these people may be more reliant on strangers calling them. Many fraudulent telemarketers actually call older people several times just to chat and get to know them. The senior citizen then feels as if he or she knows the person calling and trusts him even more. That is when the scammer hits the person up for money. He'll then call back several times getting more and more money. Here are some good rules for seniors and tips to help protect them from unwanted telemarketers.
· Don't buy anything over the phone. When a telemarketer calls, ask him to send you information in writing. Tell him you never make purchases over the phone and that if he sends you information, you'll be happy to contact him if you're interested.
• Don't make quick decisions. When you're on the phone with a telemarketer, don't let him convince you right then and there that you need the product he's selling.
• If the telemarketer tells you that "you must give us your credit card number" or "you must act today," because tomorrow the offer won't stand, that is a tell-tale sign that this company may not be on the up-and-up. Any legitimate company will be as happy to do business with you tomorrow as they will today.
• Report any suspicious calls to your law enforcement agents. Contact your state's secretary of state office, the Federal Trade Commission, and even your local Better Business Bureau.
If you're worried that your older relative may have been a victim of telemarketing fraud, here are some ways you might be able to tell.
• Unexplainable debits and charges on bank accounts.
• You notice your family member talking to suspicious people on the telephone.
• There are miscellaneous items being delivered to your older relative's home.
• You notice your relative filling out a large number of sweepstakes or rebate offers.