Thousands lose money to telephone scams. Everyone is a potential target. Fraud is not limited to any particular race, ethnic background, gender, age, education or location.
Sometimes scams seem to be targeted to older individuals who might live alone, have some savings, or who may be polite to individuals that call. This may make them especially vulnerable.
Scammers will say whatever is needed to cheat individuals out of money. Some may sound friendly plus they may try encouraging conversation. During other calls the scammer may threaten the person if not quickly successful. Scammers do not want to give you time to think. Resist pressure to make a decision immediately. Saying, “No, thank you,” and hanging up is the way to end a scammer call.
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it is a robocall. Unless you gave a company written permission to call, recorded messages that are trying to sell you something are generally illegal. Do not press any number suggested by the recording — including pressing a number to remove your phone number from the call list. It will likely lead to more robocalls since you identified that you heard the recorded message.
Report your telephone experience to the FTC online at ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices. Free resources about scams, robocalls, charity fraud, and travel scams are available at the same site.