Everyone is vulnerable to phone call scams, but scammers like to target seniors because they think you will have a big nest egg, that there is a good chance you live alone or that you are more apt to be polite to strangers. Knowledge is power and knowing the signs that someone is trying to scam you will help in protecting yourself.
Scammers will say anything to gain your trust. They may call you by your first name, appear to be concerned for your well being, tell you that you have won a prize, or they may already have some of your personal information and they will use that to get more information from you.
Although they most often try to call you there are other ways scammers can try to reach you. They may email you with an “official looking” email that prompts you to follow a link which could be spam. They may send you something in the mail that offers you a gift if you submit your credit card number to pay for a low fee.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Ask them questions. Who are they and why are they calling you? How did they get your number? If you won a gift – why are they asking you to hand over your credit card information?
There are questions you can ask yourself as well. What is the rush? Tell them you will think about it and call them back. This will give you time to run it by someone else or see if they are a legitimate business. If they say they already have your account information why would they need you to confirm it? Usually credit card companies ask you to confirm your birthday, full name and address – they do not ask you to read aloud your credit card number as confirmation.
If they say they are from your credit card company, tell them you would prefer to call them back on the phone number provided on your actual credit card. If they are real, they will be more than happy to let you do that. If they are a scammer they will try to give an excuse as to why that won’t work. You can add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry which will stop most telemarketing calls from coming through. This may help you reduce the stress of not knowing if a company is real or not. If you are on the do not call list and a scammer does get through, you can report them at: www.donotcall.gov