Know how to handle phone calls from strangers
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. Donít judge a phone caller by voice or demeanor. Crooks can sound like a friendly relative or neighbor. In fact, they try to.
If a stranger tries too hard to become a friend, be alert. If you donít know a person, be wary if he or she calls you by your first name or engages in small talk. Mother told you never to talk to strangers, remember. However, itís much easier to fall for their line of patter when theyíre on the telephone.
Knowing when to hang up is easier after you try a simple test. Tell the caller that you want to check out the offer 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? Here are some warning signs: a large amount of junk mail lying around and frequent calls from strangers, frequent stops by private courier firms, receipts for express mail packages, indicating that these services are being used to transport money to illegal telemarketers. Does the victim act nervous when the telephone rings or is anxious for you to leave? Does your friend behave in a secretive or furtive way about phone calls or mail?
If you want to help your friend, just calmly tell him or her that illegal telemarketing is a crime. Donít 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 Ėis it legitimate or not- call the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060 to discuss it with trained fraud spotters. If it is a fraud, you can also go Online to www.rbernardo.com and then to "Consumers' Protection" and file a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) which is partnered by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3).
Happy NINTH ANNIVERSARY to the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol. Since June, 1992, they have volunteered 182,995 hours of needed assistance to the community of Rancho Bernardo. We thank the 70 men and women in the light blue shirts!
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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