1. Don’t take company info at face value. Take down notes and let the caller know you’ll have to call back. Companies like Microsoft will never call you to tell your computer is infected with a virus. The IRS will not call you to tell you that you owe money. If you or your loved one gets a call from any company asking for personal or banking information, take notes about what they’re calling for, hang up and call the main customer service number for that company – not a callback number from the person who called.
2. Don’t trust caller ID. On the same note, don’t trust what your caller ID says because phone numbers can easily be spoofed, or faked, by would-be scammers. Using technology, they can create a fake phone number showing they’re calling locally when in fact, it’s a person on the other side of the world.
3. Don’t use giftcards or money orders or wire transfers to pay for things over the phone. Use a designated credit card to make purchases over the phone. That way, you can track all your purchases and ensure they were all made by you. And, if something shows up that is fraudulent, you should have recourse with your credit card company.
4. If it’s too good to be true- it probably is. Just say no to sweepstakes, contests or large prizes- especially if you don’t recall entering. Oftentimes scammers will ask that you put up a deposit in order to receive your large prize only to steal the money in the end.
5. Don’t stay on the phone just to be polite. Older people may think it rude to hang up on a caller, even if they’re not interested in what the caller is peddling. Rather than listen to a sales pitch or potential scammer, you or your loved one are free to hang up, or at the very least, say a firm, “No, thanks!” and hang up. These people are attempting to steal from you; you do not have to be polite.
Of course, we also recommend the teleCalm app. A caregiver can set up a list of approved phone numbers so their loved one can stay connected to friends and family, but avoid strangers, scammers and unwanted calls at odd hours. You can get started today and achieve peace of mind knowing you’re in control.