- “Hi, this is Rachel from Credit Card Services!”
- “Hello, Seniors! Because you have been referred by a friend, we have a Medical Alert System for you free of charge!”
- “It is critical that we speak to the business owner today! Our records indicate that you have not claimed your Google+ Listing!”
Some of these scams have been around for a long time; back in 2012, the FTC settled with five defendants for running the “Ann from Credit Card Services” scam, but like the mythical Hydra, for every head you cut off, two more grow in its place. It’s infuriating; my phone has long been on the national DNC register, but that tool seems to have about as many teeth as the CAN-SPAM act, meaning virtually zero. The Medical Alert scam appears to have ramped up during the last month despite being on the FTC’s radar for over two years.
At this point there is very little that the average consumer can do directly to stop the flood. But there are things you can do to reduce your own frustration level, and some which, over time, may help the authorities to take action against these scammers.
- Report unwanted phone calls to the FCC, especially if you are on the Do Not Call list.
- Make a note about the number that called you at 800Notes.com so that others can be aware of which numbers are being used by scammers. Most of these spoof their Caller ID anyway, but it’s just one more piece of the puzzle that investigators can use.
- Call or write your Congressperson. If they get enough people complaining about this, they’re more likely to lend their weight to an effort to eradicate the scum.
- Add all scam/robocall/hangup numbers to your “reject list.” This will cut down on the number of calls you even are aware of.
In the meantime, remember what the FTC tells consumers:
If you get a call with a recorded sales message and you haven’t given the company your written permission to call, the call is illegal. Since the call itself is illegal, you can bet the offer is a scam
Be careful out there and watch over your vulnerable loved ones.
The Old Wolf has spoken.