by Michele Mintzer, Community Consultant
Everyone has heard of telemarketers; those pesky people who seem to call at the most inopportune times, trying to sell you something that you don’t need. But many people may not aware of the kind of telemarketers who claim to know you from an event you attended, were referred by a friend, or who spoke with you “last year and are just following up” on a previous conversation they had with you about their product. The callers target senior citizens relying on the potential that their memory may not be as good as it used to be or they may not have easy access to a computer.
Telemarketing scams involve offers of free prizes, low or no-cost health care products, or inexpensive vacations. Often, the callers use phrases like:
- “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up” in order to receive the product
- “You can’t afford to miss out on this offer”
- “The offer is only good today”
Sometimes the callers will even suggest you check out their website with testimonials from hundreds of people and that you don’t need to bother checking out the company through the Better Business Bureau because that is too time consuming.
Tips to avoid telemarketing fraud
Before you buy anything over the telephone, remember:
- Never buy from an unfamiliar company. If the company is legitimate, they will understand you want to check them out and think before making the purchase.
- Ask for the information or the potential agreement in writing first before giving any personal information. But also remember to thoroughly check them out with the Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau, the National Fraud Center, or other friends and relatives because you can’t always trust what is in writing from a fraudulent company.
- Obtain a salespersons name, title or position, contact information, and business license numbers; then verify that information before you transact business.
- Always take your time to make a decision; legitimate companies expect that from their customers and will never pressure someone to make a quick decision.
- Never pay money for a “free prize” even if they do claim it is to cover shipping and handling.
Our staff wants to make sure that residents are always protected from potential crimes. If you have doubts please call us to help you check them out. At Daystar Retirement Village we are here to assist you in any way we can.Have you heard of any other tips we might have missed to help your peers be protected from fraud?