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Prevent telemarketing fraud targeting seniors

Updated August 22, 2011

Many legitimate companies and charities solicit consumers by phone as an effective way to raise money or increase company business. Unfortunately, some criminals will also contact people by phone under the guise of being a legitimate company. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) believes that seniors can prevent telemarketing fraud by being educated consumers.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year. Senior citizens continue to be a rapidly increasing segment of the population, and that can make them a prime target for con artists and thieves.

Studies have shown that senior citizens are more at risk to be targeted by telemarketing scams than other age groups, with fraudulent telemarketers directing up to 80 percent of their calls to older Americans. These con artists believe that senior citizens are vulnerable and more susceptible to their tricks. However, NCPC is helping many seniors to be shrewd and savvy citizens by offering the following fraud prevention tips:

  • Offers too good to be true usually are. If you are being offered a special prize or offer, ask for the information in writing so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.
  • Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will never ask you for your personal information over the phone.
  • If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or asks for your credit card number or Social Security number, tell the person you don’t give out personal information over the telephone.
  • Remember that legitimate telemarketers won’t be turned off if you use these techniques. They will appreciate dealing with an educated consumer.

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