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Protect Yourself from Phone Scams: Who’s Calling Me?

Fraud Alert!!!

Protect Yourself from Phone Scams: Who’s Calling Me?

In today’s world, scammers are becoming increasingly clever in their attempts to deceive people, and phone scams are on the rise. It’s crucial to stay vigilant and protect yourself from falling victim to their tricks.

We used to say, “Don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number”? Well, scammers have found a way around that too. It’s called “spoofing,” and it allows them to manipulate Caller ID to make it look like they’re calling from a familiar name, business, or number you know. They might pretend to be your bank, doctor’s office, or even a family member in dire need of help. To make matters worse, they often have some personal information about you, like your address or your family members’ names, to make their stories sound convincing.

Be skeptical. Even if the number seems familiar, if they ask for money, your social security number, Medicare information, PIN code, or even your email address, don’t give in. Hang up immediately to protect yourself.

Legitimate institutions and businesses, like your bank or doctor’s office, already have all the sensitive information they need. They will never call you to ask for it over the phone, no matter how urgent the situation may seem. If you’re unsure about a call’s authenticity, hang up and call them back—but only use a trusted and verified phone number that you have used before.

Family emergencies are not exempt from scammers’ tactics either. They might pretend to be a relative in distress, armed with personal details to sound authentic. In such cases, it’s wise to hang up and call them back on a number you know is genuinely theirs or reach out to another close family member to verify the situation. Some families even have secret passwords for such situations, something unique that only family members would know, like the name of your favorite dessert. It can be a simple and fun way to ensure that you’re talking to the real family member and not a scammer.

Here’s some good news—every one of us can play a part in preventing phone scams! You can report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which investigates such fraudulent activities. If you lost money or have information about the scammers, report it at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov. Even if you didn’t lose money but received a suspicious call, you can still report it at https://www.donotcall.gov/. By reporting these incidents, you help the FTC identify illegal callers and patterns, which assists phone carriers and other partners in developing solutions to block or label scam calls. Your reports also aid law enforcement in tracking down these scammers and bringing them to justice.

Stay informed, stay cautious, and take action when needed. By staying alert and proactive, you can safeguard yourself and your community from phone scams and keep your personal information secure.

And for more information and helpful tips, be sure to check out the Elder Options event page for training and community sessions like Long-Term Care Planning and Elder Law Panel at https://agingresources.org/events/

Stay safe and be vigilant.

This self-assessment connects you to the TCARE (Tailored Caregiver Assessment and Referral) Program. This is a one-on-one caregiver support program that may require you to engage with an assigned TCARE Coach. If you wish to participate in the program, continue to the self-assessment. Please be advised that a TCARE Coach may be in contact with you via phone or email.

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