Telemarketing scams are a growing problem, particularly among the elderly population. Whether a loved one lives alone or in a senior living community, is cognitively aware, or has memory impairment, they’re targets because scammers believe they are more susceptible to their tactics.
These scams can be devastating, financially and also emotionally. Here are some ways to help loved ones avoid telemarketing scams:
- Educate your loved one about common scams
- Consider blocking unwanted calls
- Stay involved & connected
- Monitor your loved ones accounts
Let’s take a more in-depth look at what telemarketing scams are and strategies to help your loved one avoid being the victim of one.
What Are Telemarketing Scams?
Telemarketing scams, or fraud, is a crime that usually happens over the phone, email, or social media. They start by offering you a reward or substantial amount of money where you need to make a small payment for processing to receive your winnings. They may even ask for your bank account information, credit card number, or social security number.
Signs of a Scam
Scammers are always looking for new ways to target seniors. Here are a few signs of a scam to look out for:
- Your loved one receives junk mail frequently, such as sweepstakes offers and spam calls from people offering valuable rewards or asking for charitable donations.
- Your loved one makes unfamiliar payments, such as written checks or payments made to out-of-state companies.
- Your loved one is secretive about phone calls or messages.
- There’s a sudden lack of funds from some form of scam activity.
Ways to Help Loved Ones Avoid Telemarketing Scams
According to a 2021 Elder Fraud Report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 92,000 victims over age 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion. You can help loved ones avoid telemarketing scams by educating, warning, and protecting them.
Educate Them About Common Scams
One of the most effective ways to protect your loved ones from telemarketing scams is to educate them about prevalent scams. Many seniors are unaware of the tactics scammers use and are more likely to fall victim to them.
Take the time to explain the various scams to loved ones, such as lottery, sweepstakes, contests, grandparent scams, identity theft insurance, and charitable scams.
Email phishing is another telemarketing scam that uses unsolicited emails supposedly from a legitimate company or bank requesting sensitive information from a loved one, such as:
- Credit card numbers
- Insurance information
- Social security number
- Medical records
Encourage Them to Be Skeptical
Encouraging your loved ones to be skeptical of unsolicited calls can be a powerful tool in preventing telemarketing scams. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get the victim to act quickly. You can remind them that legitimate companies and banks won’t ask you to share personal information over the phone.
What they can do is tell them to ask the caller for their name, company, and phone number and later research the company to verify that they are legitimate before making any decisions.
Consider Blocking Unwanted Calls
Many seniors receive a large number of unwanted calls from telemarketers and scammers. These calls can be a nuisance, making it difficult for loved ones to distinguish between legitimate and other calls.
They may also receive robocalls—recorded messages instead of a live person trying to sell them something. Help your loved ones block unwanted calls with call-blocking or call-labeling technology on their mobile and landline.
It’s important to remind your loved ones that even if they have blocked unwanted calls, they may still receive calls from scammers using different phone numbers. You can encourage them to remain vigilant and always be skeptical of unsolicited calls.
Stay Involved & Connected
Staying involved and connected with your loved ones can help prevent telemarketing scams. Loved one’s who are socially isolated may be more vulnerable to scams, as they may be more likely to trust strangers over the phone.
By staying connected and regularly checking in and asking about calls they receive, you can help them avoid becoming victims.
Monitor Their Accounts
Discuss with loved ones about securing their accounts and monitoring their finances. Helping a loved one, especially during the early signs of memory loss, can be a great way to prevent them from becoming victims of scam activity.
Support & Care for Loved Ones
Telemarketing scams targeting loved ones can be devastating, but there are ways to help your loved ones avoid falling victim. At All American Assisted Living at Hanson, we offer the support and care your loved one needs. To learn more about life in our community, schedule a tour today.