How to trip up a telephone scammer

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010


I just had a great call at work from a local resident who figured out a way to “outsmart” a “telephone scammer.” 

This local resident received a call and said when she answered the phone, the scammer said, “Hi Betty,” the first name of the local resident. Then the caller said, "I work for FSG, we stand up for the rights of people ages 50 - 80 and one of the things we are doing is fighting against having your Social Security check taxed."

The local resident asked, “Do you have a Web site?”

The caller said, “Well, no we don’t.”

Then the local resident said, “I’ll tell you what, give me your phone number and let me call you back.”

The next thing Betty heard was – click.

After that experience she said the next time someone calls for her and the caller’s name doesn’t sound familiar, she is going to role play. By that she means, when a caller says “Hi Betty,” she is going to say, “No Betty’s not here right now. Can I take a message and have her call you back? That way she can get the goods on the solicitor/scammer, without having to go through the ordeal of trying to be scammed.

People 65 and older are targeted for crimes of exploitation. Statistics suggest that the older you are, the more likely the scammer is to succeed.  

Older individuals have a difficult time being “rude” on the phone. Hanging up is simply improper and impolite. So they are less likely to do it. They are also more apt to be lonely and more likely to talk. The longer the scammer has them on the phone, the more likely they are to succeed at the scam.

The other characteristic that makes exploiting older people easier is that they are also likely to have some degree of dementia. Did you know that the Alzheimer’s Association reports that half of the people age 85 and older have some form of dementia?   

That means that 50 percent of this age group is likely to have a medical condition causing them to have some degree of impaired memory/reasoning/judgment. This is a scammer’s dream come true.

So consumer beware! 

Try Betty’s advice the next time you get a call from someone you don’t know. Ask for their name and number and tell them you will call them back.



There is a web site where you can register your phone numbers..or by phone 1-888-382-1222. This eliminates most of the unwanted calls.
Never give out any personal information on the phone.


I just received a call from Walt Matthews Insurance Agency telling me of another scam. It's a "Jackpot Payment Notice". It comes in the form of a realistic check for $3,500.00 and it tells you to cash it so it can cover the cost of administering the jackpot. Then they ask for the "winners" checking account number and routing number so they can deposit the winnings.

here's what happens. The "Winner" cashes the check and the check bounces. The "Winner" has to pay the overdraft fees and pay back the bank for any of the spent $3,500.00. (assuming the "Winner" actually spent this money)

Now that this scam-business has the "Winners" checking account # and routing #, they are able to clean the "Winners" checking account out and run off with the "Winners" money.

The old saying still applies -- "If it sounds too good to be probably is".

If this is happening to you report it to your local police department and to the Ohio Attorney General's office Division of Consumer Protection Diviion. The phone number is 800-282-0515

Kottage Kat

Excellent suggestions. Thank you

Julie R.

What about attorneys, big billion dollar insurance companies (one anyway) and banks (one in Huron anyway) that criminally defraud the elderly that are in the advanced stages of Alzheimers?

Julie R.

What about a Lorain County attorney that goes out to a nursing home and tries UNSUCCESSFULLY to get an elderly woman who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimers to sign a new POA and a different Will so her irrevocable Trust can be changed by internal fraud?