It seems telemarketing is targeted at everyone in America, and often at dinnertime.
Although most people don’t appreciate getting those phone calls, there are legitimate organizations that raise funds for worthwhile activities by calling people like you and me at home. There are legitimate businesses that do some of their marketing over the phone, to mixed results. And then there are the scammers, who’ll do everything they can to take you for every cent you’ve got.
According the FBI Common Fraud Schemes page, you may be a special target for telemarketing fraud if you’re 60 or older, especially if you’re an older woman living alone.
Telemarketing fraud often involves offers of inexpensive health products, cheap vacations, and free prizes.
Free? Far from it. Chances are you’ll be told you have to pay “postage and handling” or some other small charge. To do that you’ll probably have to give your credit card or bank account information … and, well, you know what happens next.
When you’re dealing with an unfamiliar company or caller, you can never be sure what you’re up against. Check out this video to see what can happen when you’re dealing with a telemarketer you’re not familiar with.
Although you may occasionally get a worthwhile, good faith offer over the phone, it may be best to minimize risk by refusing to take such calls altogether. Call screening is easy, although scammers often hang up without leaving a message when someone doesn’t answer the phone. It’s unlikely you’ll have the good fortune of never picking up the phone to hear a solicitor’s or scammer’s voice at the other end
The FBI page warns seniors about telemarketers’ pitches telling you that you have to act fast to receive the offer. The page also warns about telemarketers advising you not to check out the company offering the service the call is about. And, of course, any call asking for a credit card or bank account number or a check can be nothing but trouble.
The obvious advice for dealing with telemarketers is not to rush into decisions especially with companies you’re not already familiar with. Never pay for anything over the phone unless you’re sure exactly whom you’re dealing with. Verify the salesperson’s name, but don’t forget that scam artists generally use false names.
Never pay in advance, and never pay for anything that’s supposed to be “free”.
If you receive a suspicious call, you may be able to identify the caller by googling the phone number. You can also visit such Internet sites as http://www.800notes.com and http://www.numberguru.com/, and complain about the individual or number calling you.
You can take your personal security a step further by trying to avoid telemarketers altogether. It isn’t foolproof, but you can add your phone number to the National Do Not Call registry at https://donotcall.gov/. If you’re on the do not call list and telemarketers persist in calling you, you can file a complaint against them.
Complaining may not offer the total solution you’d like to the problem of telemarketing scams, but it’s a lot better than being one more victim. Let senior living be all you’d hoped it would be with medicare advantage and medicare supplement plans, stay on your toes and don’t forget there are dangerous people out there who want to take advantage of your success by emptying your bank account or pocketbook.
Contact MedicareMall now and we’ll make it our priority to see you get the health care coverage you need.
Have you ever been contacted by a telemarketing scammer? Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel!
Telemarketing Fraud and Seniors © 2012 MedicareMall.com