Saturday, April 8, 2017

Living with Chronic Disease: Phone Scams-Don’t Say Yes!

Because those affected by chronic disease are often at home, particularly during the day, they are more likely to be subjected to phone scams. On March 27, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) issued a consumer alert :Can You Hear Me” Scams. What is most troubling about this scam is that by the time many people realize what’s going on, it’s too late. They start off by saying, “Can you hear me?” which is not an uncommon question for those calling from a medical office or hospital to ask.

 The goal of the caller is to get you to say “yes.” This will be recorded and then used to authorize unwanted charges on your utility or credit card account. The fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender or utility.

If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded, review all of your statements such as those from your bank, credit card lender, or telephone company for unauthorized charges. If you notice unauthorized charges on these and other types of statements, you have likely been a victim of “cramming”.

The following tips can help ward off unwanted calls and scams:
• Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.

• If you do answer, don’t reply to any questions that seem to be fishing for a quick “yes” or no” answers.

• If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls,  just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents.

• If you day say yes, keep an eye on your accounts for any authorized charges.

• If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so they can help identify and take appropriate action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers.

• Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. You can also visit the FCC’s website for information and resources on available Robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.

• Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry.


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