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.