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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@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

never answer your phone. let people leave a message and then return their call if you know them.

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

I don't answer my phone if I don't recognize the caller, but my husband is the problem. He is so happy to have someone call him, he answers every time. I'm going to try some of the suggestions and see what works. I appreciate your contact. Thank you.

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@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

@shirleymac, can you let us know if you find something that helps for your husband answering the phone?

Thank you, John

REPLY

Other than the suggestions other people gave you I don’t have any, but….I would like to call your attention on ways of getting him remember some instructions. I know there’s a phase in which things don’t “stick” in their memory, however, I would try the following:: if he enjoys being called and talking over the phone, try to find out things/activities that would resemble that need. For example, arrange for other people who care for him to call him and talk to him over the phone. Or other activities that would make answering the phone less atractive. Also, if you need to agree with him anyway on certain rules, help him with the “saving” of the instructions: this is, not only talk to him, use other senses and use experiencing. Ask him to repeat the instruction and hear his own voice saying it. Leave a piece of paper besides the phone in a way he could not help but notice it. Practice with him what he’s going to do next time someone calls. Call him at home from your cell and repeat the excercise. Several times, and at different moments during the day. Make a game.
Thanks to your question I realize I have to think on that too with my mother…. Good luck.

REPLY
@juani

Other than the suggestions other people gave you I don’t have any, but….I would like to call your attention on ways of getting him remember some instructions. I know there’s a phase in which things don’t “stick” in their memory, however, I would try the following:: if he enjoys being called and talking over the phone, try to find out things/activities that would resemble that need. For example, arrange for other people who care for him to call him and talk to him over the phone. Or other activities that would make answering the phone less atractive. Also, if you need to agree with him anyway on certain rules, help him with the “saving” of the instructions: this is, not only talk to him, use other senses and use experiencing. Ask him to repeat the instruction and hear his own voice saying it. Leave a piece of paper besides the phone in a way he could not help but notice it. Practice with him what he’s going to do next time someone calls. Call him at home from your cell and repeat the excercise. Several times, and at different moments during the day. Make a game.
Thanks to your question I realize I have to think on that too with my mother…. Good luck.

Jump to this post

Thank you for more suggestions. I will try repeating instructions along with your other ideas. At one time, repetition made things stick in his long-term memory. I’m not sure that works as well, now, but I will definitely try!

REPLY

I do not answer calls that I don't know who is calling – letting them go to voice Mail. Bill would answer them but for the most part he isn't sure how to answer the phone – or make calls. I have a tracfone for him in case of emergency that he needs to reach me or I need to reach him. But so far a waste as he rarely answers and has trouble calling out. My biggest problem is the computer. He believes every scam going and if I stop him then he gets angry. Says it is alright for me to spend money but not him. He now wants to buy his 3rd computer in a year (with a 4th still working from before). Says the computer is bad – won't believe it isn't the computer but the user! Again gets very angry with me if he has a computer problem. AZ's attorney General's office has a division that will go after people that prey on the elderly. If he gets 'taken' I tell the scammer I will report them. So far has helped.

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