Phone Scam Worries

Posted by shirleymac @shirleymac, Dec 5, 2017

My husband answers his phone every time it rings. I was outside and came in to find him talking. He said, “I can’t tell you. My age? I’m 74!” I asked who he was talking to and he told me he had no idea. I asked for the phone and hung up. I want him to have his phone, but worry he will be the victim of a scam. Does anyone have any suggestions? I do have his phone on the Do Not Call list.

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I put my mother’s phone number on the list yearly. Also she has the habit of not answering any calls that are long distance unless she knows who it is. She ignored all the rest with caller I’d. If I am calling or my child, my name appears so she knows it is me by that and not the phone number. Same for my child. I’d love to hear other suggestions on this.

REPLY

Hello @shirleymac and @tigerlily, welcome to Mayo Connect. Phone scammers play on the elderly. I get a lot of calls from customers about phone scams, asking me if they are legit. Here are some sites that may be helpful:

Phone Scams
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams
10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud
How to Avoid Phone Scams
https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Phone-Scams
How to Identify and Avoid the Most Common Telephone Scams
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-identify-and-avoid-the-most-common-telephone-sca-1692068970
An easy thing to do is get caller ID and never answer the phone when you do not recognize the number. If they don’t leave a message, they don’t get a call back. It’s not fool proof but helps. Another tip is to pick up the phone and say nothing…if it’s a robocall, it’s waiting for you to say something, if I hear nothing I hang up. If someone picks up the phone, I know it’s a call center trying to sell me something or get some information – at any rate I don’t want to talk to them. I know it sounds harsh, but time is a valuable asset and anyone trying to scam you is not worth your time to say it in a nice way. I no longer listen to sales pitches, they start I hang up.

Hope you all have a phone scam free holiday season.

John

REPLY

@shirleymac, some phone companies have call features you can add to your phone line for a price. There is a feature called Selective Call Acceptance that may help if you can get it. Selective Call Acceptance allows you to create a list of phone numbers from which you are willing to accept calls. Callers with phone numbers not on your list hear an announcement informing them that you are not receiving calls at this time. Also, when this feature is activated, you will only receive calls from the numbers you have programmed. Emergency calls may not get through.

John

REPLY

Hello @shirleymac Sorry to hear of the challenges with your husband and the phone. You are not alone as my wife had the same issue — and she loved having her phone too! We had to attack this issue in phases according to what my wife’s mental capabilities were at the time.

Sadly, with so many folks disconnecting their landlines phone scams are far more prevalent on cell phones than before and the ‘do not call list’ has become almost irrelevant with cellphones, number masking, and robo-calling. Personally I get some kind of scam phone call at least once or more each and every day.

In the early days we utilized the Contacts feature in my wife’s phone. Added in family and friends. She then understood enough to know if a name did not show up on her phone when it rang she was not to answer it — an easy lesson since I was able to show her I was doing the same thing with my phone. Unfortunately this did not last long.

As hard as it was we move to having ‘phone time’ and ‘no phone time’ during the day. Phone time was a set time when I knew I would be with her. No phone time was when I was not, during meals, newspaper time, coffee time, etc. I used the ruse of the fact our son was doing the same thing with our grandsons so we were just helping set a good example. I then let our family and friends known when to call if they wanted to reach her. This lasted a bit longer.

Unfortunately when this was no longer understandable for her I simply had to take the phone away. Hard, but way easier than having to tell her not to drive, not to walk anywhere alone, taking away her credit card, checkbook, etc. In the grand scheme of all the independence she lost in her disease journey her phone was a speck rather than a mountain of an issue.

Wish I had more to offer, but send strength, courage, and peace!

REPLY
@IndianaScott

Hello @shirleymac Sorry to hear of the challenges with your husband and the phone. You are not alone as my wife had the same issue — and she loved having her phone too! We had to attack this issue in phases according to what my wife’s mental capabilities were at the time.

Sadly, with so many folks disconnecting their landlines phone scams are far more prevalent on cell phones than before and the ‘do not call list’ has become almost irrelevant with cellphones, number masking, and robo-calling. Personally I get some kind of scam phone call at least once or more each and every day.

In the early days we utilized the Contacts feature in my wife’s phone. Added in family and friends. She then understood enough to know if a name did not show up on her phone when it rang she was not to answer it — an easy lesson since I was able to show her I was doing the same thing with my phone. Unfortunately this did not last long.

As hard as it was we move to having ‘phone time’ and ‘no phone time’ during the day. Phone time was a set time when I knew I would be with her. No phone time was when I was not, during meals, newspaper time, coffee time, etc. I used the ruse of the fact our son was doing the same thing with our grandsons so we were just helping set a good example. I then let our family and friends known when to call if they wanted to reach her. This lasted a bit longer.

Unfortunately when this was no longer understandable for her I simply had to take the phone away. Hard, but way easier than having to tell her not to drive, not to walk anywhere alone, taking away her credit card, checkbook, etc. In the grand scheme of all the independence she lost in her disease journey her phone was a speck rather than a mountain of an issue.

Wish I had more to offer, but send strength, courage, and peace!

Jump to this post

Thanks Scott @IndianaScott – great advice. You are so right about cell phone scams being more prevalent. Nothing seems to get rid of them including putting every number that calls on a block list – same people calling but just using different spoofed numbers. I am filing away your phone time advice for use with some of my customers who have a lot of problems dealing with it.

John

REPLY
@johnbishop

Hello @shirleymac and @tigerlily, welcome to Mayo Connect. Phone scammers play on the elderly. I get a lot of calls from customers about phone scams, asking me if they are legit. Here are some sites that may be helpful:

Phone Scams
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams
10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud
How to Avoid Phone Scams
https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Phone-Scams
How to Identify and Avoid the Most Common Telephone Scams
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-identify-and-avoid-the-most-common-telephone-sca-1692068970
An easy thing to do is get caller ID and never answer the phone when you do not recognize the number. If they don’t leave a message, they don’t get a call back. It’s not fool proof but helps. Another tip is to pick up the phone and say nothing…if it’s a robocall, it’s waiting for you to say something, if I hear nothing I hang up. If someone picks up the phone, I know it’s a call center trying to sell me something or get some information – at any rate I don’t want to talk to them. I know it sounds harsh, but time is a valuable asset and anyone trying to scam you is not worth your time to say it in a nice way. I no longer listen to sales pitches, they start I hang up.

Hope you all have a phone scam free holiday season.

John

Jump to this post

Thanks John. I’m definitely adding these to my list.

REPLY
@johnbishop

Hello @shirleymac and @tigerlily, welcome to Mayo Connect. Phone scammers play on the elderly. I get a lot of calls from customers about phone scams, asking me if they are legit. Here are some sites that may be helpful:

Phone Scams
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams
10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0060-10-things-you-can-do-avoid-fraud
How to Avoid Phone Scams
https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Phone-Scams
How to Identify and Avoid the Most Common Telephone Scams
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-identify-and-avoid-the-most-common-telephone-sca-1692068970
An easy thing to do is get caller ID and never answer the phone when you do not recognize the number. If they don’t leave a message, they don’t get a call back. It’s not fool proof but helps. Another tip is to pick up the phone and say nothing…if it’s a robocall, it’s waiting for you to say something, if I hear nothing I hang up. If someone picks up the phone, I know it’s a call center trying to sell me something or get some information – at any rate I don’t want to talk to them. I know it sounds harsh, but time is a valuable asset and anyone trying to scam you is not worth your time to say it in a nice way. I no longer listen to sales pitches, they start I hang up.

Hope you all have a phone scam free holiday season.

John

Jump to this post

Thank you! I agree with the tactics you suggested for robo calls and sales calls. I’ve talked to my husband about only answering if he sees a name he knows, but he is so glad to have a call, he answers all calls. I’ll look at the links you provided and see if there may be a better way to talk to him. He has virtually no short-term memory, but maybe if I repeat it enough, the message will make it into long-term memory.

REPLY
@johnbishop

@shirleymac, some phone companies have call features you can add to your phone line for a price. There is a feature called Selective Call Acceptance that may help if you can get it. Selective Call Acceptance allows you to create a list of phone numbers from which you are willing to accept calls. Callers with phone numbers not on your list hear an announcement informing them that you are not receiving calls at this time. Also, when this feature is activated, you will only receive calls from the numbers you have programmed. Emergency calls may not get through.

John

Jump to this post

I did not know about this option, but will definitely look into it. Thanks!

REPLY
@IndianaScott

Hello @shirleymac Sorry to hear of the challenges with your husband and the phone. You are not alone as my wife had the same issue — and she loved having her phone too! We had to attack this issue in phases according to what my wife’s mental capabilities were at the time.

Sadly, with so many folks disconnecting their landlines phone scams are far more prevalent on cell phones than before and the ‘do not call list’ has become almost irrelevant with cellphones, number masking, and robo-calling. Personally I get some kind of scam phone call at least once or more each and every day.

In the early days we utilized the Contacts feature in my wife’s phone. Added in family and friends. She then understood enough to know if a name did not show up on her phone when it rang she was not to answer it — an easy lesson since I was able to show her I was doing the same thing with my phone. Unfortunately this did not last long.

As hard as it was we move to having ‘phone time’ and ‘no phone time’ during the day. Phone time was a set time when I knew I would be with her. No phone time was when I was not, during meals, newspaper time, coffee time, etc. I used the ruse of the fact our son was doing the same thing with our grandsons so we were just helping set a good example. I then let our family and friends known when to call if they wanted to reach her. This lasted a bit longer.

Unfortunately when this was no longer understandable for her I simply had to take the phone away. Hard, but way easier than having to tell her not to drive, not to walk anywhere alone, taking away her credit card, checkbook, etc. In the grand scheme of all the independence she lost in her disease journey her phone was a speck rather than a mountain of an issue.

Wish I had more to offer, but send strength, courage, and peace!

Jump to this post

I appreciate your suggestions. It is encouraging to see options that have worked for others, even for a short period of time. Thank you!

REPLY
@IndianaScott

Hello @shirleymac Sorry to hear of the challenges with your husband and the phone. You are not alone as my wife had the same issue — and she loved having her phone too! We had to attack this issue in phases according to what my wife’s mental capabilities were at the time.

Sadly, with so many folks disconnecting their landlines phone scams are far more prevalent on cell phones than before and the ‘do not call list’ has become almost irrelevant with cellphones, number masking, and robo-calling. Personally I get some kind of scam phone call at least once or more each and every day.

In the early days we utilized the Contacts feature in my wife’s phone. Added in family and friends. She then understood enough to know if a name did not show up on her phone when it rang she was not to answer it — an easy lesson since I was able to show her I was doing the same thing with my phone. Unfortunately this did not last long.

As hard as it was we move to having ‘phone time’ and ‘no phone time’ during the day. Phone time was a set time when I knew I would be with her. No phone time was when I was not, during meals, newspaper time, coffee time, etc. I used the ruse of the fact our son was doing the same thing with our grandsons so we were just helping set a good example. I then let our family and friends known when to call if they wanted to reach her. This lasted a bit longer.

Unfortunately when this was no longer understandable for her I simply had to take the phone away. Hard, but way easier than having to tell her not to drive, not to walk anywhere alone, taking away her credit card, checkbook, etc. In the grand scheme of all the independence she lost in her disease journey her phone was a speck rather than a mountain of an issue.

Wish I had more to offer, but send strength, courage, and peace!

Jump to this post

Best of luck, @shirleymac We will be thinking about you and hoping some of these tips help you out! Please let us know what works and if you devise any new alternatives! We are always looking for more hints and hacks at making caregiving a bit easier — and we do that by sharing for sure! Good luck!

REPLY
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