I do not think a week goes by when one of my elderly parents doesn’t mention a strange phone call. They are always disconcerting and often scary, and older adult are prime targets.
An excellent article, Die, Robocalls, Die: A How-to Guide to Stop Spammers and Extract Revenge, appeared this week in the Washington Post. The article, by tech columnist Geoffrey F. Fowler, explains how to use a range of phone strategies and apps to get rid of many irritating phone scams, fraudulent claims, and other bothersome calls.
The steps suggested by Fowler are somewhat complex, so adult children probably will need to work together with older elder parents to make changes. Even a few of the suggested phone tweaks will make a difference.
On my mobile I use one of the apps that classifies phone numbers in a giant database after people submit the numbers. The app company checks out the submissions and, if they check out, adds them to the database. If the number gets put in the database it is blocked on any phones that uses the app. On my mobile phone I also block those phone numbers that do not leave messages, especially the callers that use a number similar to mine. We check our landline only once a day.
So here are the fraud/scam phone calls that I’ve received this week — at least the ones who bothered to leave messages.
- A person who claimed to be calling from the IRS, saying that the cops (really???) would be on their way soon unless I made a payment on the phone. I didn’t, because IRS never contacts people in this way,
- A lovely and very official woman who said that she was calling about unsecured loans that were being refinanced and would I call back right away. She called three times and left a phone number and even an extension to call back. I do not have unsecured loans.
- A call explaining a change that is being made with my Social Security benefits. Social Security does not call or make changes in this way, AND I don’t get Social Security benefits.
What calls have you received? Anything new?