Sadly, senior citizens continue to be the favorite targets of slick salespeople and scam artists.
We have a report that some mobile phone salespeople are tricking elders into switching their accounts from landlines to cellular companies, even when they don’t own a mobile phone.
The ruse often involves an offer to provide the unwary target with more information regarding their company; that’s when a third person is put on the line to verify that the customer has approved the transfer of service even through the word transfer was never used.
This type of false verification is called “slamming,” a word most people have never heard unless they have been victims.
The result of being “slammed” is that the telephone user can be without telephone service for a number of days.
Family, health care providers and friends may be unable to reach the victim during times of emergency. It sometimes takes days for the victim to even realize they’ve been duped and their service disconnected, especially for those seniors who receive few calls.
In some cases they are unable to get service restored for several days and are told they will no longer have the same phone number. In the interest of full disclosure, a person close to an EGP staff person has been a victim of this practice.
The scam created havoc in the victim’s life.
While the person’s landline provider protested that it was not there fault, we think protections should be put in place to make slamming more difficult.
We suggest that the company losing the account should be required to verify that the customer requested the change in service.
We’ve lately also been made aware that many seniors are getting a large number of sales calls even thought their names and numbers have been placed on the National Do Not Call list.
Perhaps the penalties for calling a no-call number need to be increased, since seniors have actually been bullied into buying merchandise, services or sending funds to scammers.
One other scam that not only seniors but other bank card owners are also falling prey to are reoccurring charges which a credit or debit card holder has not authorized while purchasing an item seen on television or heard on the radio.
These charges are usually small amounts that can escape notice on bank statements, often the number on the statement is either busy or the victim is promised a small rebate even though the charge may have occurred for a long period of time. Cardholders can request assistance from their bank or card company to have the charge stopped and to get a rebate.
These are just some of the scams mostly targeted at seniors. We urge family members, friends and caregivers to keep an eye on their senior’s accounts and even phone conversations to ensure they don’t become the victim of a scam artist or fast talking salesperson.