We’ve all experienced our phones ringing off the hook with a barrage of telemarketing calls. While these calls can be a real nuisance, some are far worse. Scammers use the latest telemarketing technology to rip off victims to the tune of millions of dollars each year. The threat of financial loss is especially great for older Americans living off of their retirement nest eggs.
With only a few days left until the presidential election, your phone may be ringing with political robocalls that 3 in 4 voters say they wouldn’t answer, knowing they were on behalf of a candidate, according to a recent Harris Poll survey.
Robocalls aren’t just annoying; increasingly, they are the initial contact that scammers use to get you. With autodialers that can blast millions of prerecorded calls per day, fraudsters simply program sequences of phone numbers — dialing X telephone numbers with Y area codes or prefixes over Z period.
For everyone who hates getting automated robocalls on their phone or spam text messages, the Federal Communications Commission has gotten the message.
When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology.
While some 750 documented data breaches and the hacking of 160 million personal and business and government payment records dominated the news in 2014, the prime calling cards of scammers trying to steal your hard-earned money were intimidation and fear. Here’s how the scams work:
Robocalls continue to falsely claim that AARP is providing "free" medical alert devices (I got one just yesterday, with a displayed caller ID number belonging to a local swim club), and now there's a new ruse faking the AARP name.
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