Better Business Bureau rings in the conclusion of Older Americans Month with some advice for the elderly: Beware of telemarketing phonies.
Senior citizens tend to be trusting, polite and home during the day; making them more susceptible to convincing pitches that could eventually land them on “sucker lists.”
Many businesses use telemarketing as a legitimate sales practice, but fly-by-night solicitors may have no intention of providing promised products or services. In other cases, fraudulent callers may try to “verify” personal identifiers by falsely claiming affiliation with known charities, organizations, associations or government entities.
Receivers should listen for scam signals and look out for callers who:
- Block phone numbers.
- Don’t respect do-not-call requests.
- Make calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Don’t disclose the nature of calls upfront—within the first 30 seconds.
- Refuse to provide background data, full contact information, contracts or receipts.
- Use high-pressure sales, harassment, threats or other abusive tactics.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington offers pointers:
Don’t touch that dial. Don’t respond to suspicious mail offers, phishing emails or phone calls from unknown phone numbers. Those who attentively listen or reply to offers and sales pitches are often viewed as easy targets for future solicitations. For more insight, read Welcome to the Sucker List.
Dial down on data release. Avoid giving out phone numbers and other contact information on surveys, sweepstakes, applications and online forms unless it is necessary. Review Completing Surveys Can Increase Telemarketing Calls and Junk Mail.
Get dialed in on telemarketing rules. Recognize regulations from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud Abuse Prevention Act. Read Telemarketer Troubles.
Keep authorities on speed dial. Add phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222; report complaints to this Registry, the state Attorney General and BBB if unwanted calls continue.