Anyone is at risk of scam phone calls. Seniors tend to be targeted because scammers find them more trusting. Elders may also be lonely and more likely to answer a phone and stay on the line.
It used to be easy to avoid calls by refusing to answer a call from an unknown number. If you had your parent only answer calls from someone they know, it was easy to avoid scammers. That changed as spoofing become more prevalent.
What is Spoofing?
Spoofing is a call where a scammer uses technology to present a fake number on the caller ID display. Instead of showing the number that’s being used to make the call, the scammer gets the caller ID to show someone else’s number. They use numbers that are local businesses or people who you’re likely to recognize.
As an example, one woman got a call from a local police department. Her caller ID showed the police department, so she was curious enough to answer it. It turned out to be a scammer. This is known as spoofing.
Isn’t Spoofing Illegal?
Spoofing is only illegal if the caller intentionally is trying to defraud someone else. If the goal of their call is to get account numbers, passwords, money, or vital information like a SSN, it’s illegal. If the spoof call is to get you to sign up for a magazine, newspaper, or service, it’s often considered a legal phone call, even if they are faking who is calling.
How Do You Avoid Calls if Caller ID Can’t Be Trusted?
The best way to avoid spoofing is by not answering the phone. If the call is legitimate, the caller can leave a message. Your parent can listen to the message and return the call.
You could also set up a system where friends and family call, let the phone ring twice, hang up, wait 30 seconds, and call back. That two-ring warning and hang up tells the other person that the call is really you and not a scammer.
If your elder parent gets a scam call that involves spoofing, someone should report it to the FCC. The best way to end spoofing is by reporting every call. In 2017, the FCC suggested fines of more than $200 million against two people caught making spoofed robocalls. The battle to end spoofing is ongoing.
Make sure your mom or dad isn’t answering the phone just to have someone to talk to. If your parent is lonely, elder care professionals offer companionship as one of the many services that are available. Learn more by calling ou elder care agency.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Thomasville NC, please contact the caring staff at TenderHearted Home Care today. (704) 612-4132.
I have enjoyed volunteering my time as the President of the Rowan County Home School Association, assisting with the Parkinson’s Support Group, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Pregnancy Support Center, MOPS International, Capstone Recovery Center, Kairos Outside, Celebrate Recovery, various church committees and going on a mission trip to Moldova. I am a member of the Rowan County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels board member, REACH of Rowan County, HIPSS of Davidson County, Second Tuesday Business Group and several Christian Business Life Groups.
I am passionate about serving others and providing the most compassionate care possible, as I would want for my own family. I love relaxing with my husband, Peter, and my two dogs, Yoyo and Terra Cotta.