According to the Federal Trade Commission, Illinois residents issued 252,935 complaints about robocalls in 2018, many of them targeting the elderly. Nationally, robocalls increased by 46% in 2018 compared to the previous year. Older adults are often perceived as easy targets and are disproportionately targeted by telephone robocall scams and financial fraud. According to Consumer Reports,
“thousands of so-called imposter scams reported each year that target people in the U.S., particularly older ones.”
Technology has made robocalls and telephone fraud easy to execute and hard to detect. Technology allows criminals to automatically dial thousands of numbers and disguise the actual phone number they are calling from. U.S. regulators say new rules that give telephone companies an incentive to provide free tools and apps that block robocalls will end some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S. annually.
“This distress, especially if occurring in an older adult’s home, may exacerbate existing health problems or even lead to new problems, such as anxiety and sleeping disorders. Additionally, older adults are disproportionately affected, as they are perceived to be easy targets and tend to have traditional landlines with limited robocall-blocking options. More alarming is that once a person answers a potential scammer’s call, their telephone number is marked as “live” and the number of calls likely will increase.”
1. Hang up. Don’t engage with any robocallers; it can just end up in more calls.
2. Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can make it look like their calls are coming from trusted institutions.
3. Don’t pay anyone who calls you over the phone. If you get a call trying to get you to pay money, it’s almost certainly an unlawful robocall.
4. Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, or prepaid card over the phone. No legitimate company or government agency is asking to be paid with Amazon, Google Play, or iTunes gift cards.
5. Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
6. Report scam calls to the FTC at donotcall.gov or by calling 877-382-4357. The more data the agency has, the more it can focus on enforcement, Barlow says.
7. Register for the Do Not Call Registry. This may not reduce calls from criminals who ignore the registry, but it will reduce calls from the lawful companies.
Elder law addresses a broad range of legal issues that people encounter as they age. An elder law attorney draws on their experience in numerous areas of the law to help individuals plan for the future and address problems as they arise, such as abuse, financial fraud and medical care; as well as estate planning.
An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.