Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Seniors Are Targets For Telescammers, Says AMAC

seniors targets telescammersWASHINGTON, DC – Americans receive tens of billions of robocalls each year– that’s billions with a “B.”  And, you can make book on the fact that too many of them are not from telemarketers but from telescammers targeting senior citizens, says the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

“Technology is making it easier to place automated phone calls and while many legitimate companies use them to sell products and services, criminals are having a lucrative field day using computer-generated calls to swindle innocent citizens,” according to AMAC president Dan Weber.

The Federal Communications Commission [FCC] says that the number one consumer complaint it consistently receives is for unwanted automated calls.  In fact, during the first half of 2018, the number of robocalls increased by at least 50%.

Ethan Garr, an executive at TelTech, a company that makes one of the many call blocker apps on the market, says that robocalls are cheap.  He says it costs just a penny a minute.  And the technology news website Futurism reports that some phone carriers actually kick back micropayments to telemarketers and scammers.

Although such payments amount to just a fraction of a penny a call, it adds up considering the fact that the callers are making billions of calls a month.  The Robocall Index, which keeps track of automated call frequency, says that more than 5 billion such calls were made in the U.S. just last month, more than double the number of calls made in the same period in 2017.

As for the scam calls, just last month police in Pennsylvania arrested a man in connection with a telescam leveled at senior citizens.  He was charged with swindling elderly people in various parts of the country out of some $400,000.  What he allegedly did was call seniors and tell them that a grandson was in trouble and needed cash immediately.

And then there was the Publishers Clearing House scammer who called a 90-year-old woman in New York earlier this month and conned her out of $20,000 by claiming she had won a PCH prize.

“Both of these scams are fairly common,” says Weber.  “But, oftentimes the crooks get creative.  For example, the IRS says some of them have found ways to alter their caller IDs to make it look as though the Internal Revenue Service is on the line.  They’ll then threaten stiff penalties if the victims fail to pay money that they allegedly owe.”

The problem has gotten so bad that the Federal Trade Commission has created a scam alert page that can help consumers avoid fraud, including telephone fraud.  It also provides what some might call a “hit parade” of the latest cons.

Automated telephone calls may be annoying, but the statistics show that most them are legitimate sales calls.  However, NBC News recently reported that as many as 40% of robocalls in the U.S. are from scammers.  That means telescammers are targeting more than 10 billion potential victims a year.

“It doesn’t mean that all robocalling is bad.  Such calls can serve useful purposes such as when they alert you to a life-threatening storm that may be approaching.  Or when they alert you to potentially fraudulent use of a credit card, remind you of an upcoming appointment with your doctor or let you know that your prescription is ready for pick up at your local pharmacy,” says Weber.


The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] 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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2 years ago

Get an answering machine and just do not answer it!

2 years ago

I sometimes enjoy playing with these telemarketers. One time I told the caller that I would listen to every word she said if she agreed to pay my monthly phone bill. I went on, not giving her a chance to stop me. Telemarketing calls make up 90% of the calls I get, and that’s not the reason I have a phone. Then, when I was finally finished, I gave her a chance to speak. She hung up on me! Hahahaha Ever have a telemarketer hang up on you? It was GREAT! I wish I had that energy for every call. Most of the time I just tell them I no longer accept these calls, while they are talking, and I hang up. If they are rude enough to not listen, then they deserve to be hung up on.

2 years ago

The article on phone scamming has good info, but nothing new. Most important, it says nothing anout how to report these scams. I’ve had several “IRS” and other scam calls, and still have no clue how/who to report them to.

Maxie Cleveland
2 years ago

In reference to my previous comment, the latest email is from “American Boomer Daily” then stating, “Secret Trump Deal: $40,983 for each taxpayer “. I am assuming this is an email scam. I have been getting messages from different places & people, the wording in the message may be a bit different but bottom line always meaning the same…..”getting a check each month amounting to anywhere from hundreds of dollars a month to the thousands each month. Not connected to Government but all this arranged by Trump”. Other than “delete” what can I do about it? This has to be scam!!!!!!!??????

Maxie Cleveland
2 years ago

I have been getting emails telling me Trump has arranged for us taxpayers to get an extra check each month, nothing to do with the Government, but only to make us independent. The latest emails are giving December 21st as a deadline date to apply. Before this, the date was sometime in November. Is this a scam? I have been deleting these messages. How can I block those emails?

2 years ago

We have 2 phone lines. Unfortunately, one is for business so we have to allow calls to come in. The other is our private line. BUT, we have a call blocker on each line. If there is no caller I D, the call does not come through. If we determine it is a scammer, we can then block it and it will not ring again. We can check online call blocker sites to se if they are legit. Some of the worst are fax calls. We don’t have a fax set up. They will call several times in a row if we don’t block them. Occasionally if I answer, I will let the caller speak for a while and then I will ask them if their mother knows they are a thief. Instant hang ups!

Gloria P. Sterling
2 years ago

I don’t even answer numbers of which I am not familiar or block them. Also, I have put down many scammers because the caller did not sound legitimate and I knew by what he/she was saying that it was a scam. Never, never, never give any info to someone whom you do not know,

2 years ago

Check out nomorobo.com. It’s a robocall blocker that allows legitimate robocalls through (like appointment reminders from your doctor) and blocks all others. It’s free for land lines.

John P
2 years ago

Another scammer is Baltimore County and our state elected officials. REDUCE PROPERTY TAX. These past 80 years, I have yet to hear a politician say, they will reduce property taxes on a continuing schedule. Why should we be penalized because we realized our American Dream and bought a house. Politicians are paid too much to search for new ways to spend money, instead they need to discover ways to reduce spending. REDUCE PROPERTY TAX ON A CONTINUING SCHEDULE.
John in Catonsville, Maryland.

2 years ago

This article has explained a problem without providing a solution. My wife and I along with many other seniors would appreciate it if someone could fix this annoying problem!

Gloria P. Sterling
2 years ago
Reply to  Wes

See my comment at the beginning. I learned long ago that I didn’t have to answer my phone, anyway, every time it rang. A legitimate caller will call again and it gives one enough time to know whether or not it is legitimate. Any numbers with what I am not familiar does not get answered.

Ann Evans
2 years ago

I get several throughout the six days of the week. I keep a writing pad by my phone and if I don’t know the caller, I write down the call numbers. It’s amazing how the same numbers are changed just a little. They use my area code, etc. For fun, I’ll make a noise and the foreign caller try’s to say my name correctly. Then I make a really crazy sound and they hang up. My best is pick up the phone and say “Dr. so and so’s office, how may I help you?” or “internal Revenue Service, how may I help”, etc. They hang up quickly. If it’s legit, they leave a message if I don’t answer the phone.

2 years ago

Trump and the Federal Government should make the complete ELIMINation of ROBO-Calls a very high priority.
I suspect the Robo-callers are buying Republicans with UNDER-the-table contributions!

2 years ago

When I received a robo call and my caller ID showed it my own phone number I decided it was time say goodbye to AT&T. The best part of getting rid of my land line was not receiving even one political call.

Uncle willie
2 years ago

There is a scam going on .They call you about your Medicare card .I told the Medicare office .They said they will never call and ask you about your Medicare information.If anybody calls you about your Medicare card do not give them any information and hang up.Call the Medicare office and report them.Please be careful it’s your money don’t just give it to anybody .

Donald Christian
2 years ago

I get these calls often. Usually from, supposedly, micro soft/windows or irs. I get as much info as possible then call the ftc. I even have a reference number they ask for.Their number is: 1-877-382-4357.

Phil in TX
2 years ago

I was a recent target of a telescammer claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House. He stated that I had been selected to receive something like 1.2 million dollars, but I would need to pay a small fee in order to receive the prize. That immediately pegged my “fraud” meter and I told him to get lost and hung up. The idiot immediately called me back on my cell phone, giving me the number he called from. I reported him but haven’t heard anything else from the Sherriff.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Never, ever fall for one of these scams. As President Reagan said about arms treaties, “Trust, but verify”.

Marcia Rand
2 years ago

I totally hate getting these Telescammers(Robo Calls). It is very annoying to say the least. Our phone company has helped by blocking them. Now, these people have found out what our cell phone number is. I do NOT answer them. Voicemails on my cell just delete them. You see the number come up block them. Oh and watch out for ads on Facebook, they are the worse ever. I had one where this guy showed up to our home, he wouldn’t leave. and no he was not invited So I called the Police and he was escorted off the property. My neighbor was outside dumping stuff he could hear him and called the police. So that was the end of that. Seniors if you see any car driving slow in your neighborhood take down the color, make and license plate number. Call the police let them check it out. Keep watch for your packages the minute you see the driver get out there and bring them in. One of my neighbors caught a guy going thru his mail by watching him on Ring. Uh, the police came and arrested him. Make sure all your doors are locked. Make sure your car doors are locked as well. A reminder too if you go out set the timer on your lamps to shut off at a certain time make it later before you get home. Don’t ever walk into a dark house. Night lights are good to have on as well. place them in your upstairs hall, bedroom, bathroom; in your kitchen too. Better to be safe than sorry. Oh one more thing if you go away be sure to tell two of your neighbor’s. so they can keep watch. WE have a program in our town its called Neighborhood.,it works.

AnaElvia Sanchez
2 years ago

Well, I was sick and tired of calls and finally decided to pay the annual fee of $29.99 to RoboKiller and has worked marvelously.
It’s unfortunate that it takes one to pay but, hey!
No more sensless waste of time.
Great App to have. Calls are redirected and answered with whatever message you select and you are notified. Love it! It’s up to you to look up who or from where the call came. If I don’t recognize the number, I really don’t care.

2 years ago

I just let every call go to voicemail; the scammers usually leave no message.

The federal and state ‘do not call’ lists are a joke.

2 years ago
Reply to  SueK

Exactly. Most of the automated dialer programs the scammers use will only switch the call over to the crooks, if they detect a human voice on the line. Otherwise, like when the call rolls over to your voice mail, the scammer’s systems just hang up and leave no message.

Joyce D Wilkinson
2 years ago
Reply to  SueK

Opt out lines “do not call”…dont work!

2 years ago

One of my friends got a call from her “grandson” who said he was in trouble in another state. “Please don’t tell my Mom and Dad.” Then she was supposed to send the money in a box to a PO Box. Needless to say, she didn’t. I also got a call from a ‘grandson’. I told him to go to Hell. It was easy for me because I don’t have any grandchildren. My friend also turned in all the information she had to the government.

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