“You’ve won the lottery! Press 1 to claim your prize or press 2 to be removed from our list.”
Have you ever received a call with a prerecorded message entailing something spectacular you’ve just won–or for you to share your personal information? If you said yes, you’re not alone! Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have fallen victim to phone scams this year. Individuals of all ages can become targets for scam calls, but it’s especially prevalent in the senior community. “Older adults lose an estimated $3 billion each year to financial scams,” according to the National Council on Aging.
Although there are many different types of scams currently being used, there are also many steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting compromised. When it comes to finding new victims to swindle, fraudsters are masters at their craft. Let’s not make it easy for them!
3 types of phone scams.
- Robocalls are the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) top consumer complaint. These types of scams use phone technology to dial from anywhere in the world to reach many people. Take a robotic voice on the other end for instance. It may offer you a free cruise trip, say you’ve won the lottery or ask you to renew your auto warranty. If prompted to press a number to speak to a representative or be removed from their list, you have most likely received a robocall and should not engage.
- Computer tech support scams target seniors and their lack of knowledge about cybersecurity and the internet. If someone calls to fix your internet connection or remove malware for a price, you should proceed with caution. Though technology might be daunting at times to grasp, having a good understanding of it can give you the confidence you need to protect yourself from potential scams. Find more technology tips for seniors at clearcaptions.com.
- Romance scams often target seniors who seek companionship. For example, fake profiles are created to lure unsuspecting victims. Once a relationship has been established, the scammer may request travel fare to come see you, ask for help with a large medical emergency bill, and if overseas, request money to pay for visas. Confide in your family members or friends as an extra precaution.
Read more on the Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors.
How do I protect myself from scam calls?
Scam calls increase every year and it’s important that you keep your personal information as well as finances safe. These steps can ensure the safety of your privacy and make it difficult for scammers to successfully commit fraud.
- Recognize scam attempts and promptly hang up the phone.
- Do not answer unknown phone numbers. Instead, let them go to voicemail. After playing back your message, you can decide whether the call is legitimate. Find out how to set up your ClearCaptions answering machine or voicemail here.
- Block and report spam calls. If the same number is frequently calling and you believe it’s spam, you can manually block the call from your phone.
- Download any robocall-blocking app on your mobile device. Make sure to read the reviews and understand what you are downloading beforehand.
- If you are using a landline phone, you can install a call blocking device that will filter calls by Caller ID, area codes, unknown numbers and more. Make sure to read reviews and understand which features you are looking for in the device before purchasing.
- Don’t press any keys or respond to prerecorded messages. This notifies the scammer that your phone number is active which may lead to more scam calls.
- Report unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry.
- Do not give personally identifiable information, credit card/bank numbers or wire information to unverified persons or businesses.
- Do not give into pressure to act quickly for fear of imminent danger or impending charges.
- Anyone asking for payment via cash, gift cards or by wiring money should raise a big red flag.
I was a victim of a scam. What next?
Remember, you’re not alone! You may feel embarrassed and choose not to disclose this information but doing nothing can make it worse. If you’ve lost money to a scam call, contact your local law enforcement agency for further assistance and notify your credit card company to dispute any funds that were withdrawn. Be sure to close any credit card accounts that may have been compromised.
Don’t let perpetrators take advantage of YOU. Stay up to date with different types of fraud and remember the necessary steps to ensure you are protecting yourself and your loved ones from scam calls.
American soul singer, Aretha Franklin once sang…
“One step ahead of misery, one step is all [you] have to take…”
And we couldn’t agree more! If you find yourself caught in the crossfire, remember to stay one step ahead. Identify and block spam calls for good–you’ve got it in you!
Our promise to you.
At ClearCaptions, your personal privacy and security of information is of utmost importance to us. We adhere to the stringent rules and requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Since the cost of the service is paid for using funds that are managed by the FCC, we will never ask you for any payment or purchase information such as credit card or bank account details. Our service is always available at no cost to our qualified customers.