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FCC Robocall Ruling Offers Hope; in the Meantime, Just Hang up on Dodgy Callers, says AMAC

Robocall social security phone scamsReport shows 5 million seniors lose $27.4 billion a year to phone scammers

WASHINGTON, DC, June 28 — Seniors may get robocall relief if a new Federal Communications Commission [FCC] ruling prompts phone companies to implement technologies that automatically block them.  Dan Weber, an advocate for older Americans, says the ruling is a step in the right direction.

The president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] reports that “while it is still early days, it appears the major phone service providers are ready to cooperate.  It was good news when Verizon was quick to ‘welcome’ the ruling.”

Verizon issued a statement hours after the FCC announced its decision.  In it, the company stated that it is “putting robocallers on notice.  We’ve got their number and we’re taking big steps to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Apple has announced a new software update will be available in the fall that can automatically block unwanted spam callers.

Weber says, however, that he is taking a wait and see attitude regarding these latest efforts to rein in phone scammers.  “It’s a lucrative crime and the perpetrators are tech savvy enough to find new ways to prey on the elderly.”

He cites an article on the FCC ruling published by Politico, which noted that: “experts warn that callers slinging bogus tax bills and insurance schemes might still find a way to get through. Calls originating from overseas could present a technical challenge. And the measures are voluntary: phone companies won’t be required to take advantage of the call-blocking systems that the FCC is encouraging and could charge consumers fees for using them.”

Tech journalist and privacy advocate Paul Bischoff recently prepared an elder fraud analysis of phone scams targeting seniors for the technology research firm, CompariTech.  The Bischoff report provides an eye-opening state-by-state assessment of elder fraud.  He told AMAC that the FCC ruling to stop unwanted robocalls “is a step in the right direction but ultimately might not have the desired impact for consumers.”

The report revealed that seniors are primary targets for fraudsters accounting for 38% of scams and that there are an estimated 5 million cases of elder fraud annually resulting in $27.4 billion in losses.

“We are hopeful that the new focus on protecting the elderly from phone scammers will have a positive effect going forward.  In the meantime, just hang up if a caller starts asking for personal information or makes threats.  Don’t take their word for it if they say they are calling on official business.  No official will ever ask for you to reveal account numbers, Social Security numbers, Medicare id’s over the phone.”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 2 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.


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Jack Thomas
3 years ago

Personally, I hate “robocalls” from solicitors. I tell my wife all the time to ignore them; she doesn’t always listen. You don’t owe these solicitors any of your time. Most of them are just “scammers” trying to pick your pocket or, worse, steal your personal information. I use call-blocking technology to keep the same callers screened out once I’ve got their number.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld had a great approach to unwanted phone solicitors: ” I don’t know ….. Let me have your home number and I’ll call you back. What’s that? ….. You don’t like getting calls at home? Now you know how I feel. CLICK!”

Loretta Cogar
3 years ago

I’ve gotten so many robo calls that now if I don’t recognize the number I let it go to voicemail

ted willenberg
3 years ago

Your reply does not stop “Robo” callers from harassing us. We need a way to STOP them!

Waylon Bush
3 years ago

I received 4 phone calls to my landline in one day which caller ID’d as from my own telephone number. One call came only 30 minutes after the second call. The fourth call came 14 minutes later. I simply do not answer, but I am tired of this stupid BS. Someone could stop these calls if the callers bothered the “right” people. I thought there was a law against harassing phone calls, but I guess it is about as good as the law against illegally entering the USA.

Nebraska Jerry
3 years ago

I got one word for you all. “NOMOROBO” Google it. It really does help, but won’t stop them all. Been using it for several years now. Your phone will ring one time and that’s it. It somehow forwards their call back to them so all they get is one ring and then a busy signal. It will stop about 90% of them.

Dorothy
3 years ago

On Saturday June 28th I received a recorded call, “Thank you for choosing Marriott Hotels. . ” at which point I hung down the phone. I waited a few seconds then pressed Speaker, and the blasted recording was still wanging on! So I picked up the receiver again and hung down again; it finally gave me a dial tone. Calls like this are aggravating, but also dangerous because were I trying to call 911 I wouldn’t have been able to use my line. There should be a special penalty for calls that tie up your phone line until they’re done with whatever junk they want to say.

—I tell everyone, especially older people, not to worry about being polite because you pay the phone bill and people call you at YOUR pleasure, not theirs. It is perfectly proper to say nothing at all and disconnect the call, as many times as they call back (they will eventually tire and stop calling). For no reason do you (a) tell them ANYTHING about anyone, (b) believe anything they tell you, (c) or say anything other than “Hello?” If they say your relative is in the hospital, or something alarming, hang up the phone and call someone you know to check it for yourself.

lou b
3 years ago

i disagree with “just hang up”. I string these guys along, giving credit card numbers or PoD numbers one digit short, then repeat the numbers back real slow, etc. I enjoy wasting 8-10 minutes of their time, acting stupid or and goofing around. If everybody who had the time did this, it would deter more then just hanging up, which allows them to go to the next mark.

Dorothy
3 years ago
Reply to  lou b

Ha. I know someone else who does this; he strings them along with a myriad of personal questions and other minutiae until their heads are ready to explode; they hang up on him! But I am not a patient person, especially if I want to make a call. But I love that a few of you guys play with them, keep them busy.

Violista
3 years ago

Most of the calls I get have no one responding at the other end, not even when I pick it up immediately and say “Hello” at least twice. So usually if I’m not expecting a call or it doesn’t have a chosen ring tone, and the caller-ID is “unavailable” or “Anonymous”, I just don’t respond.

DR. GLEN WILSON
3 years ago

Help us STOP ALL ROBOCALLS. They are annoying, ILLEGAL and they are are an HARASSMENT!!!! STOP ALL SUCH CALLS!!!

Susan P
3 years ago

I do not answer numbers I do not recognize. If they are legitimate, they will leave a message. No message, then it wasn’t important enough to answer in the first place.

TheOLDWarhorse
3 years ago

I like to get a human on the line, then, in a very British accent say “Hello, hello, Hong Kong, are you there? Rangoon here, hello, are you there? They usually hang up by the time I say Rangoon. Takes up a few seconds of time they would otherwise use to RIP someone off.

Bill McShane
3 years ago

I set my smart phone to the “Do Not Disturb” setting (comes with a LG5). All new numbers not in favorites will not “ring” but light up the screen and log the call. If it is a legitimate call, they will leave a message. It will ring for that number if it calls back with in 15 min. All “favorites” and labelled numbers will ring. Our land line has a caller id which will display the number, “unassigned”, or “private number”. We can then hear any messages. If we are watching TV, the cable system will display the same information on the TV screen. Bets to be patient and let the phone ring to the answering device. Robo calls will hang up immediately as will many telemarketers. I have even seen robo calls ring off in as little as 2-3 rings. Don’t answer or hit the hand up button. Even hanging up will confirm that they hit a real number.

Dave
3 years ago

I’m glad to see some progress to combat this problem, but this is too little too late.

My elderly Mom suffers from dementia, and can no longer retain new memories.
Earlier this year she started getting inundated with scammers, and telling her to not answer or give them information just wouldn’t stick with her.
Even putting a note on her phone to remind her didin’t help, as she can’t remember anything new.
Unfortunately I can’t make her forget her social security number. :-(

Until this May, the scammers could use her SSN to bill medicare, and they successfully billed almost $10,000 in useless durable medical equipment (ALL JUNK), before the cutoff in May when they must have the new Medicare #. Fortunately I never gave Mom her new medicare card, so she can’t give out that number.
Interestingly, Medicare doesn’t think it suspicious that Mom was prescribed multiple ankle and wrist braces from doctors as far away as California, when she lives in VA.

The scam calls still persisted after May, however, and though I asked Verizon to BLOCK all numbers unless they were in her contact list, Verizon refused. They only allow a total of 5 numbers to be manually blocked, or if I pay an additional monthly fee they’ll allow up to 25 numbers, which is just as useless, as the scammers spoof new numbers by the minute.
The only way to block more numbers is with a smartphone app, which is not an option, as teaching Mom to use a smartphone is impossible.

Finally, to stop them further scamming her I had to forward ALL Mom’s calls to my phone, where I attempted to get her off the lists by telling the scammers that no one by that name is at this number. That tactic did get rid of a few repeat callers, but I still get around 40 scam calls per day forwarded from her number.
I’ve now put a very long greeting on my voicemail, to waste as much of their time as possible, and any number which doesn’t leave a message is automatically reported and blocked.

I’m not usually a fan of more regulation, but this is one area where we are powerless to do it ourselves, and we need some laws with TEETH, like mandatory 1 year first offense sentences for ANYONE involved in ANY WAY with making unsolicited calls, with 10 years mandatory for repeat offenders.
Heck, I’d even support the electric chair for these scum. I’ll volunteer to throw the switch myself.

Amanda
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave

I’m not usually a fan of regulation either but I agree with you 100%. It is one thing when something affects other people. It is another thing when it affects you and me. Let’s put a stop to this, and anything else that impacts our actual lives.

Bob D
3 years ago

It gets tricky since these robos utilize your area codes to fake you into thinking it’s someone you know. Guess we have to memorize all of our friends actual numbers.

Dorothy
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob D

If you want to talk to your friend whose number shows on your caller ID, simply wait and then initiate the call yourself. That way you don’t have to memorize numbers to avoid scammers who might not be who they say they are. Just dial up your friend and say, “Hey, Jim, did you just try to call me?”

MariaRose
3 years ago

There are different methods for dealing with unwanted calls depending on whether they are coming in via your landline or your cell phone. When I had the active landline (without a phone attached) I would get the number showing up on my screen and I would let them all go to VoiceMail. With the phone not attached (plugged in), I didn’t have to deal with constant ringing, plus anyone who really needed to get in touch with me would call my cell phone. But since cellphone numbers have been allowed to be called via internet calls (VoIP), I have had to screen calls and have a fast rule–I don’t answer unknown numbers, period. If the caller is legit, they will leave me a message with a number to contact them and if it is anything else that leaves messages (like you need to contact a place out of town–I get to delete the message) Carriers have a way you can block the numbers but they refuse to give us the technology to fully identify the caller unless you pay for the service. Last time I used one of those paid Call Blocking services, it blocked all calls including those I had as contacts so I manually block without the service. You can google check the numbers online and usually will find that these numbers are listed as a scam number.

Peter E Balsam MD
3 years ago

Firstly, the government couldn’t get it right if they fell over it. Secondly, the scammers will figure out a work-around and continue. Then we’ll need more legislation…….You get the picture. It’s interesting that the response to so many ills in our culture is education. Why are we not able to educate the public to stop answering the phone, hang up if they do and just say “No” to any phone solicitation. By the way, the phone companies don’t want to interfere with robocalls since they actually receive fractions of cents for each call which add up when you make tens to hundreds of thousands of calls.

John
3 years ago

For your Cellphones do this, as we have done by intalling this FREE App:
“Whitelist Call Blocker”. See the App Store (iPhones), or Play Store (Android phones).
This free app will SILENTLY block all incoming calls that are not listed in your Cellphone’s Contacts listing.
The blocked caller’s numbers will still be listed in the Cellphone’s call log.

For our home Landline phone we installed this device: “CPR V10000 Call Blocker”, and then activated it’s Whitelist mode after we inserted our desired / ALLOWED caller’s numbers, such as family, friends, medicals, pharmacys, etc.

Peace & Quiet from our home phone, and no driving disturbances from our Cellphones!!!

Dorothy
3 years ago
Reply to  John

Good information! Years ago before small cellphones there was a small device that did the same thing: you plugged the phone line into it after you’d programmed it with acceptable phone numbers. But you had to give a special access number to all your callers in order for them to complete calls to you. I had this device and it was great.

Kenneth W Funk
3 years ago

Suggestion: I added the following to the end of my answering machine message. “We screen calls; if you say nothing or leave no message we will not pick up.” This has worked well and interestingly with the pause after “We screen calls” the robo computers seem to end the call. We get very few robo messages.

Dorothy
3 years ago
Reply to  Kenneth W Funk

That’s a fine suggestion! I’m going to put that on my answering machine tomorrow. Thanks, Kenneth!

Sandra Lee
3 years ago

On a recent Friday morning, I received 12 calls in 2 1/2 hours, with 3 of them from the same number. My phone has been unplugged since then.

Cookiepress
3 years ago

Just don’t answer if the number is not in your contacts. If it’s a dr or something else important they will leave a message. We have gotten over a dozen calls from our home # to our home #

VCH
3 years ago
Reply to  Cookiepress

To keep the phone from even ringing, it’s worth the price to get one that allows you to BLOCK many numbers, including whole area codes. They still call, but you never hear a blocked number ring. Check into Panasonic models. I’m sure there are other good ones as well.

Nebraska Jerry
3 years ago
Reply to  VCH

Many of the robo calls I get are from spoofed numbers from my own area code. I won’t be able to block my own area code, which many of my friends and family also have. It would be even more helpful to have laws preventing hiding or spoofing the number they are calling from. Then we can block their area code and prefix.

Gloria P. Sterling
3 years ago
Reply to  Cookiepress

I do not answer calls with whose number I am not familiar. Blocking does no good on one’s phone as they just call from a different number; so the best thing is DON’T ANSWER.

Wesley
3 years ago
Reply to  Cookiepress

Calls to your phone # from your phone # are from your phone co. They want to tell you something about your phone# of contract.!!

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