According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year. Studies have shown that fraudulent telemarketers direct anywhere from 56 to 80 percent of their calls to older Americans. These con artists believe that senior citizens are vulnerable and more susceptible to their tricks. The National Crime Prevention Council offers the following tips to help seniors be shrewd and savvy consumers:
- Offers too good to be true usually are. Ask to receive the “unbelievable deal” or the “amazing prize offer” in writing so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.
- Never give out your personal information over the phone or internet unless you have initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will never ask you for this over the phone
- If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or asks for your credit card number or Social Security number tell the person you don’t give out personal information over the telephone.