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FCC Robocall Ruling Offers Hope; in the Meantime, Just Hang up on Dodgy Callers, says AMAC

Robocall social security phone scamsReport shows 5 million seniors lose $27.4 billion a year to phone scammers

WASHINGTON, DC, June 28 — Seniors may get robocall relief if a new Federal Communications Commission [FCC] ruling prompts phone companies to implement technologies that automatically block them.  Dan Weber, an advocate for older Americans, says the ruling is a step in the right direction.

The president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] reports that “while it is still early days, it appears the major phone service providers are ready to cooperate.  It was good news when Verizon was quick to ‘welcome’ the ruling.”

Verizon issued a statement hours after the FCC announced its decision.  In it, the company stated that it is “putting robocallers on notice.  We’ve got their number and we’re taking big steps to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Apple has announced a new software update will be available in the fall that can automatically block unwanted spam callers.

Weber says, however, that he is taking a wait and see attitude regarding these latest efforts to rein in phone scammers.  “It’s a lucrative crime and the perpetrators are tech savvy enough to find new ways to prey on the elderly.”

He cites an article on the FCC ruling published by Politico, which noted that: “experts warn that callers slinging bogus tax bills and insurance schemes might still find a way to get through. Calls originating from overseas could present a technical challenge. And the measures are voluntary: phone companies won’t be required to take advantage of the call-blocking systems that the FCC is encouraging and could charge consumers fees for using them.”

Tech journalist and privacy advocate Paul Bischoff recently prepared an elder fraud analysis of phone scams targeting seniors for the technology research firm, CompariTech.  The Bischoff report provides an eye-opening state-by-state assessment of elder fraud.  He told AMAC that the FCC ruling to stop unwanted robocalls “is a step in the right direction but ultimately might not have the desired impact for consumers.”

The report revealed that seniors are primary targets for fraudsters accounting for 38% of scams and that there are an estimated 5 million cases of elder fraud annually resulting in $27.4 billion in losses.

“We are hopeful that the new focus on protecting the elderly from phone scammers will have a positive effect going forward.  In the meantime, just hang up if a caller starts asking for personal information or makes threats.  Don’t take their word for it if they say they are calling on official business.  No official will ever ask for you to reveal account numbers, Social Security numbers, Medicare id’s over the phone.”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 2 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Cookiepress

Just don’t answer if the number is not in your contacts. If it’s a dr or something else important they will leave a message. We have gotten over a dozen calls from our home # to our home #

Peter E Balsam MD

Firstly, the government couldn’t get it right if they fell over it. Secondly, the scammers will figure out a work-around and continue. Then we’ll need more legislation…….You get the picture. It’s interesting that the response to so many ills in our culture is education. Why are we not able to educate the public to stop answering the phone, hang up if they do and just say “No” to any phone solicitation. By the way, the phone companies don’t want to interfere with robocalls since they actually receive fractions of cents for each call which add up when you make tens to hundreds of thousands of calls.

Dave

I’m glad to see some progress to combat this problem, but this is too little too late. My elderly Mom suffers from dementia, and can no longer retain new memories. Earlier this year she started getting inundated with scammers, and telling her to not answer or give them information just wouldn’t stick with her. Even putting a note on her phone to remind her didin’t help, as she can’t remember anything new. Unfortunately I can’t make her forget her social security number. :-( Until this May, the scammers could use her SSN to bill medicare, and they successfully billed almost $10,000 in useless durable medical equipment (ALL JUNK), before the cutoff in May when they must have the new Medicare #. Fortunately I never gave Mom her new medicare card, so she can’t give out that number. Interestingly, Medicare doesn’t think it suspicious that Mom was prescribed multiple ankle and… Read more »

Susan P

I do not answer numbers I do not recognize. If they are legitimate, they will leave a message. No message, then it wasn’t important enough to answer in the first place.

Michael Schwab

I unplugged my house phone because of all the nuisance calls.

lou b

i disagree with “just hang up”. I string these guys along, giving credit card numbers or PoD numbers one digit short, then repeat the numbers back real slow, etc. I enjoy wasting 8-10 minutes of their time, acting stupid or and goofing around. If everybody who had the time did this, it would deter more then just hanging up, which allows them to go to the next mark.

DR. GLEN WILSON

Help us STOP ALL ROBOCALLS. They are annoying, ILLEGAL and they are are an HARASSMENT!!!! STOP ALL SUCH CALLS!!!

TheOLDWarhorse

I like to get a human on the line, then, in a very British accent say “Hello, hello, Hong Kong, are you there? Rangoon here, hello, are you there? They usually hang up by the time I say Rangoon. Takes up a few seconds of time they would otherwise use to RIP someone off.

Kenneth W Funk

Suggestion: I added the following to the end of my answering machine message. “We screen calls; if you say nothing or leave no message we will not pick up.” This has worked well and interestingly with the pause after “We screen calls” the robo computers seem to end the call. We get very few robo messages.

Rich

I bought a new house phone with the ability to block Robo calls. Unfortunately you have to be there to initiate the block and every I believe
250 calls you have to dump the numbers.
I understand even answering the phone and hanging up is concerned a success with Robo Callers because they got a response by you picking up. There’s a value to them in that level of at least a pick up and can be sold to other Robo Callers as a successful call!
Over the past week since this topic has had higher visibility with the FCC I think I’m getting more attempts!🙄

Waylon Bush

I received 4 phone calls to my landline in one day which caller ID’d as from my own telephone number. One call came only 30 minutes after the second call. The fourth call came 14 minutes later. I simply do not answer, but I am tired of this stupid BS. Someone could stop these calls if the callers bothered the “right” people. I thought there was a law against harassing phone calls, but I guess it is about as good as the law against illegally entering the USA.

John

For your Cellphones do this, as we have done by intalling this FREE App:
“Whitelist Call Blocker”. See the App Store (iPhones), or Play Store (Android phones).
This free app will SILENTLY block all incoming calls that are not listed in your Cellphone’s Contacts listing.
The blocked caller’s numbers will still be listed in the Cellphone’s call log.

For our home Landline phone we installed this device: “CPR V10000 Call Blocker”, and then activated it’s Whitelist mode after we inserted our desired / ALLOWED caller’s numbers, such as family, friends, medicals, pharmacys, etc.

Peace & Quiet from our home phone, and no driving disturbances from our Cellphones!!!

Nebraska Jerry

I got one word for you all. “NOMOROBO” Google it. It really does help, but won’t stop them all. Been using it for several years now. Your phone will ring one time and that’s it. It somehow forwards their call back to them so all they get is one ring and then a busy signal. It will stop about 90% of them.

Bill McShane

I set my smart phone to the “Do Not Disturb” setting (comes with a LG5). All new numbers not in favorites will not “ring” but light up the screen and log the call. If it is a legitimate call, they will leave a message. It will ring for that number if it calls back with in 15 min. All “favorites” and labelled numbers will ring. Our land line has a caller id which will display the number, “unassigned”, or “private number”. We can then hear any messages. If we are watching TV, the cable system will display the same information on the TV screen. Bets to be patient and let the phone ring to the answering device. Robo calls will hang up immediately as will many telemarketers. I have even seen robo calls ring off in as little as 2-3 rings. Don’t answer or hit the hand up button. Even… Read more »

Sandra Lee

On a recent Friday morning, I received 12 calls in 2 1/2 hours, with 3 of them from the same number. My phone has been unplugged since then.

Dorothy

On Saturday June 28th I received a recorded call, “Thank you for choosing Marriott Hotels. . ” at which point I hung down the phone. I waited a few seconds then pressed Speaker, and the blasted recording was still wanging on! So I picked up the receiver again and hung down again; it finally gave me a dial tone. Calls like this are aggravating, but also dangerous because were I trying to call 911 I wouldn’t have been able to use my line. There should be a special penalty for calls that tie up your phone line until they’re done with whatever junk they want to say. —I tell everyone, especially older people, not to worry about being polite because you pay the phone bill and people call you at YOUR pleasure, not theirs. It is perfectly proper to say nothing at all and disconnect the call, as many times… Read more »

Violista

Most of the calls I get have no one responding at the other end, not even when I pick it up immediately and say “Hello” at least twice. So usually if I’m not expecting a call or it doesn’t have a chosen ring tone, and the caller-ID is “unavailable” or “Anonymous”, I just don’t respond.

Bob D

It gets tricky since these robos utilize your area codes to fake you into thinking it’s someone you know. Guess we have to memorize all of our friends actual numbers.

MariaRose

There are different methods for dealing with unwanted calls depending on whether they are coming in via your landline or your cell phone. When I had the active landline (without a phone attached) I would get the number showing up on my screen and I would let them all go to VoiceMail. With the phone not attached (plugged in), I didn’t have to deal with constant ringing, plus anyone who really needed to get in touch with me would call my cell phone. But since cellphone numbers have been allowed to be called via internet calls (VoIP), I have had to screen calls and have a fast rule–I don’t answer unknown numbers, period. If the caller is legit, they will leave me a message with a number to contact them and if it is anything else that leaves messages (like you need to contact a place out of town–I get… Read more »

Jack Thomas

Personally, I hate “robocalls” from solicitors. I tell my wife all the time to ignore them; she doesn’t always listen. You don’t owe these solicitors any of your time. Most of them are just “scammers” trying to pick your pocket or, worse, steal your personal information. I use call-blocking technology to keep the same callers screened out once I’ve got their number.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld had a great approach to unwanted phone solicitors: ” I don’t know ….. Let me have your home number and I’ll call you back. What’s that? ….. You don’t like getting calls at home? Now you know how I feel. CLICK!”