01 Sep ROBOCALLS: Let’s Stop Talking to Robots!
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“ROBOCALLS: Let’s Stop Talking to Robots!”
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams℠ Acting Program
Here we are in September 2020! Although September marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall, it is still quite hot here in Southern California. Everyone is doing their best to stay cool at home, where we all spend a good deal of time these days due to the coronavirus pandemic Stay-At-Home orders. Meanwhile, “robocallers” are having a field day taking advantage of the situation! I don’t know about you, but I find the intrusion of robocalls into my daily life quite irritating. (Who wants to talk to a robot anyway?) Recently, I was at my dentist’s office speaking with the office manager when her phone rang. She excused herself for a moment to take the call.
Ofc Manager — Hello … (pause) … No, and please take us off your list. Goodbye.
Me – Was that by chance a robocall?
Ofc Manager – Yes, it was.
Me – I thought so. Interesting … I’m writing an article for NOT BORN YESTERDAY’s September issue on robocall scams!
Ofc Manager – Well, you can certainly use this example in your article!
Me – I will do just that!
So, the moral of the story is that not even dentists are exempt from robocalls!
All kidding aside, scammers often target seniors using robocalls because — “Seniors usually have landlines (which are more susceptible to robocalls), they answer unknown numbers more often (not having grown up with caller ID) and they have less experience with the world of internet scams.”1 Robocalls are used to target seniors with a wide variety of fraudulent schemes, such as Social Security Scams, Sweepstakes Scams, Medicare Cancer Screening / DNA Testing Scams, etc. Here are some disturbing statistics.
-According to Your AAA Daily, 06/17/201
-The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says robocalls increased 58.6% from 2017 to 2018.
-Per Consumer Reports 10/17/182
-Robocalls and scams are now one-third of ALL calls.
-The “2018 Robocall Investigation Report” by Transaction Network Services (TNS) “which manages data networks for telecommunications service providers such as Verizon, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular” states that during the first half of 2018, robocall activity increased 15% over the same time period from 2017. NOTE — The TNS report is “based on data that flows through TNS’ network, including more than 1 billion calls a day from 200 million devices across hundreds of telecom service providers.”
Per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), robocalls are the #1 consumer complaint. In 2017, the FTC received 4.5M robocall complaints. In 2016, the count was 3.4M.
Stop Talking to Robots
-The best way to stop talking to robots is to not answer the phone if you don’t recognize the Caller ID. Of course, scammers have the technology to alter or “spoof” the Caller ID — meaning they can change the Caller ID to any number they wish, like “Social Security Administration” or the “IRS.” I recently received a robocall where my own cell phone # appeared as the Caller ID!
-Sign up with the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL REGISTRY at https://www.donotcall.gov/
-Sign up for your Carrier’s Robocall Alert Service to block robocalls from ringing on your phone.
-Download a robocall blocking app such as Nomorobo, Hiya, Mr. Number, RoboKiller, and YouMail.
-If you do answer a call from a robot, don’t give out any personal info. Just hang up!
Where to Report Scams
If you receive a suspicious call, just hang up and call the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-0470. You may also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1. If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud, please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080. For more info regarding California SMP, go to www.cahealthadvocates.org. Contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office online at http://da.lacounty.gov/ or phone (213) 974-3512.
STOP SENIOR SCAMS℠ ACTING PROGRAM is on YOUTUBE!
Although the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in-person performances are on hold during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to continuing our education program through our videos on Zoom.
We are happy to announce our most recent video, released mid-August, which is an overview of some of the most prevalent scams that target seniors in the United States. Watch “The Top Senior Scams with the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program” here —https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp097g7hTUg&t=13s
Watch “Meet Me At The Veterans Club,” released mid-July, which focuses on scams that target veterans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf6wXO4pY3I&t=17s
In early June, we released “Stop Senior Scams Acting Program and Medicare Telehealth Fraud.” Watch it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVlvmPwAa3I&t=40s
Please subscribe (free of charge) to the SSSAP YouTube Channel and you’ll be notified when new videos are released! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjFjb-WPPr8KAXq1dlu1EvA Together we can combat fraud!
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.