Aging Parents and Telephone Fraud – Five Rules that Protect

I have just hung up the phone on yet another call asking me just to “update” some sort of personal information. Still another caller, a day or two ago, was trying to convince me that I have a problem at my bank (one which I do not use, by the way). A few weeks ago a neighbor heard, via phone, that her credit card was stolen and all she had to do to confirm that the card the number was hers. No, no, and no!

Older parents, especially those living alone, need something posted by the phone to remind them about what to do when they answer the phone and discover it is one of these unpleasant and fraudulent phone calls.

Five Telephone Rules for Older Parents and Everyone Else to Keep by the Telephone

(Click here for a PDF of these rules.)

If a person you do not know…

1.  … asks you to update ANY of your personal information over the telephone, HANG UP.

2.  … tells you that you have won a prize and asks for personal information over the telephone, HANG UP.

3.  … explains over the telephone that there is a problem (maybe you will lose money), and it can be fixed by confirming personal  information, HANG UP.

4.  … tries to sell you something over the telephone. Remind them that you are on the “DO NOT CALL” list and then HANG UP. The higher the sales pressure, the more suspicious you should be about the caller.

5.  … requests your attention because of an urgent matter, lost credit card, or other emergency, and says they need you to help out by providing your personal info over the telephone, HANG UP. The more urgent the caller, the more reason there is for you to think about fraud.

If you ever think that a call that falls into the above categories is legitimate, ask for a phone number to call them back and then check with people you trust before making the call. If the call is legitimate, no one will ever have a problem giving you their phone number.

Please Remember
  • If you believe that a call in one of the above categories could be legitimate, ask for a phone number to call them back and then check with people you trust before making the call. If a call is legitimate, no one will ever have a problem about giving you their phone number.
  • The callers cannot do much to hurt you if you do not give them personal information to use. If these types of calls bother you a lot, many things can be done to stop them (see my post Phone Calls that Take Advantage) for helpful resource links. Consult someone — don’t keep this to yourself.
  • Good manners are not necessarily important in these telephone situations (even if the caller is nice).

3 thoughts on “Aging Parents and Telephone Fraud – Five Rules that Protect

  1. Pingback: Helping Aging Parents (and Ourselves) Avoid Scams « As Our Parents Age

  2. Thank you for putting this together. I added a post to the New York Times article of April 24 about the new way to defraud seniors: robocalling. I don’t know about you, but I get several of these on any given day. You can enroll yourself on that company’s own “Do Not Call” list by pressing “1” during the robocall, or hanging up and calling them back and then pressing “1.” This doesn’t work for all of them, especially the most egregious. Anita Salustro, Senior Medicare Patrol, Michigan

    Like

  3. The latest advice from the Federal Trade Commission is simply hang up. Pressing “1” or speaking to a representative will tell the robocallers your number is live and that you are engaging with them, even if “engaging” means you are trying to stop the calls. Simply hang up the phone or don’t answer it in the first place.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s