They rob with phones, not guns
It is very hard to hang up; good telephone salespeople are convincing, and so are crooks. Studies by the American Association of Retired Persons show that most elderly fraud victims don’t make the connection between illegal telemarketing and criminal activity. They don’t associate the voice on the phone with someone who could be trying to steal their money. Victims think the caller is just using ‘hard sell’ tactics. However, once they understand that illegal telemarketing is a serious crime—punishable by heavy fines and long prison sentences—they are more likely to hang up and report calls to the authorities.
The secret is to handle a telephone call from a stranger the same way as you would treat a stranger if he wanted to give you a ride or enter your home. Avoid becoming a victim and know when to hang up. Don’t judge a phone caller by voice or demeanor. Crooks can sound like a friendly relative or neighbor. In fact, they try to. Remember at all times, the person on the other end of the phone could be a crook. And crooks don’t care about your pain when they steal your life savings.
If a stranger tries too hard to become a friend, be alert. If you don’t know a person, be wary if he or she calls you by your first name or engages in small talk. If they know too much about you, be wary. Ask them where they got the information about you.
Knowing when to hang up is easier after you try a simple test. Tell the caller that you want to check out the offer or the charity and will call him back with a decision. If the caller persists or insists that you decide right away, you know you are dealing with a crook. Legitimate telemarketers always will give you a day or so to think about your decision.
Do you have an elderly friend, relative or neighbor who you think might have fallen prey to these telephone scams? If you want to help, just calmly tell him or her that illegal telemarketing is a crime. Don’t be critical or angry or embarrass the victim. He or she will probably be humiliated enough. Everyone should know that if a phone caller offers big prizes, expensive multi-year subscriptions to unknown magazines, get-rich-quick schemes, or opportunities to "cash in" to something outrageous, he or she could easily be a crook. The caller could be fined and put in jail if caught. Tell your friend that sending money to an illegal telemarketer helps with the crime and benefits the criminal.
If you are unsure about an offer –is it legitimate or not- go to website www.rbernardo.com to the Better Business Bureau or National Fraud Information Center, Consumer Bob or the Troubleshooter. There is much information for you about illegal telemarketing.
-Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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