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November 1, 2013

Robocall scams targeting seniors

You have probably already registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. But, if not, doing so can help you avoid some of those annoying telemarketing calls that always seem to come just at the wrong moment, when you are sitting down to dinner or rushing out the door to an appointment. If you do register, and you can register your home or mobile phone for free, telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint on the National Do Not Call website at: https://www.donotcall.gov/, which is the same site at which you register your phone numbers.

Lately, scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the registry. These calls are not coming from the registry or the Federal Trade Commission, and you should not respond to these calls.

Other calls you should never respond to are the so-called “robocalls.” Companies can send out thousands of calls via the Internet, and scammers care little about the “Do Not Call” list, so you might still get such calls. It’s tempting to “press 9” when they tell you to, to take your number off the list, but experts say it’s safer to just hang up, because most of these calls are “lead generators” and they just want to know if your number is legitimate so that they can target you again with a future call. If you have caller ID, and can write down the number from which the call seems to originate, then make a complaint on the Do Not Call page, or to the Federal Trade Commission. It will attempt to spot patterns and go after the most damaging perpetrators.

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