by: Tehila Mörtl
Those who endeavor to commit telemarketing fraud often target seniors who are 60 years of age or older and particularly females living alone. Enticements utilized by fraudsters include the offer of free prizes, discounted vitamins and low cost travel and vacations.
Telemarketing fraud warning signs
- Solicitor states that you must act immediately or the offer will not be valid
- Promise of a free gift, vacation or other prize but first you must pay for postage and handling or other fees
- Credit card or bank account information is required
- Solicitor states that they will have a courier pick up your check
- Being told that you do not need to check out their company
- You are not provided company contact information
- Written information about the company is not available
- Being told you cannot afford to miss their no-risk or high-profit offer
Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Fraud
- Legitimate businesses will always provide you with information about their company so, ask for and wait until you have received documentation from the company or charity. Once you have received anything in writing, check out the company or charity with the your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general or the National Fraud Information Center. Keep in mind that not all fraudulent companies are listed so check again and if you cannot confirm legitimacy, do not send the company your hard earned money.
- Before making investments, consult a qualified professional. Learn what percentage is charged for commission.
- Never make purchases or donate to charities as a result of unsolicited calls.
- Before any business transaction, obtain the representative’s and business name, telephone number, street and mailing address and business license number.
- When making charitable contributions, first find out what percentage of donations goes to the charity. Be aware that there are even well-known charities which utilize a substantially smaller percentage of donations designated to charitable programs, etc. than you might find sufficient.
- Only pay for services that have been delivered and not in advance.
- Never pay taxes for a free prize. Be advised that the charge for tax on such items is a violation of federal law.
- Never provide credit or banking information, social security or driver’s license number or personal information like date of birth to unsolicited callers.
- If the offer is one you do not understand then tell them you are not interested.
- Offers that sound too good to be true typically are.
- Always report suspected fraud to local, state and federal authorities.
When we speak of charitable organizations please note these include crowdfunding platforms, e-mail campaigns and cold calling in relation to the more typical charities such medical research, first responders (i.e. police, fire fighters) and even those purporting to be raising funds for events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. One example of the latter was following the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015. As incomprehensible as it sounds, sadly there are those who target the fine citizens of the United States simply to line their own pockets.
To avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud, look for these red flags
- Any charity that refuses to provide organizational information including how donation will be utilized
- Charities that use a name closely resembling that of reputable organizations
- Strong-arm tactics in collecting immediate donations
- Request for donations via wire transfer, virtual currency or in cash
- Offer to have donation picked up by a courier
- Promise of financial return
To report suspicious donation requests, please contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at: www.IC3.gov.
Should you have questions or need assistance with money management, please feel welcome and encouraged to call Advise & Protect to talk with one of our experienced and compassionate senior care consultants. We have the experience to assist with securing any service you might need. For those who would like to share their own experiences of an elder’s passing, please contact us directly.
If you are in need of help with senior care, elder law, moving for seniors, estate management, medical equipment, planning after life services, etc. please do not hesitate to call Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultants at 646-820-9202 so that we may aid in meeting your needs!