Elder Fraud and Telemarketing Scams- Nicholas Taldone

Elder Fraud is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Often the perpetrator of the fraud is long gone and has moved onto other types of fraud before anyone even knows they have been defrauded. The goal is to not be defrauded in the first place.

One of the greatest problems is that people are too polite to just hang up the phone when called by the salesperson. The best rule of thumb is to just hang up.

Another problem is that there is no way to differentiate those “bad apples” engaging in fraud from the vast majority of hard-working honest folks. One way is to always check references before you employ anyone, especially a financial advisor, with friends, family, the state licensing board and do an internet search. Finally, the old adage that “if it’s too good to be true” applies!

The National Fraud Information Center lists these as the top ten telemarketing scams.

  1. Prizes / Sweepstakes – phony prize awards that require payment of fees first – and never materialize.
  2. Travel/Vacations – offers of free trips or discount travels that never materialize.
  3. Magazine Sales – telemarketers falsely represent that they are calling on behalf of the publisher to renew the consumer’s subscription and never deliver the magazines, or misrepresent the total cost.
  4. Credit Card Offers – phony promises of credit cards, often targeting people with poor credit histories, requiring payment of a fee in advance.
  5. Telephone Pay Per Call Service – cost of calls to access information or entertainment services through 900 numbers, 800 numbers or international phone numbers are not adequately or accurately disclosed.
  6. Cramming – billing consumers for optional services they never ordered. Look at your bill carefully each month to make sure you are only paying for services you ordered.
  7. Advance Fee Loans – empty promises of personal or business loans often targeted to people with financial problems, requiring payment of fee in advance.
  8. Work at Home Plans – kits sold to stuff envelopes, fabricate jewelry, or perform other work at home for which false promises of profits are made.
  9. Business Opportunity/Franchises – exaggerated claims of potential profit through investments in prepackaged businesses or franchises. Study the written documents they give you carefully. Don’t believe any oral promises. Talk to current owners. Investigate earning claims. Shop around for other available business opportunities. The Department of Commerce publishes a Franchise Opportunity handbook. Get professional advice.
  10. Slamming – consumers are tricked into switching their phone service to another carrier without their knowledge or consent. The easiest way to lodge a complaint is to call the phone company you were dealing with and wish to deal with again. You can call 1+700+555-4141 to see what long distance service you are currently signed up for. You can call 1+your area code+700-4141 to see what local telephone company you are currently signed up for.

Pyramid and Multi-Level Marketing: Pyramid and multi-level marketing is a type of business in which one must become a distributor in order to sell the products. Stay away from pyramid and multi-level marketing schemes in which your primary source of income would be convincing other people to become distributors under you. Stay away from from business that require that you buy a lot of inventory in order to become a distributor.

Internet Fraud: On line auctions are a new type of scam only found on the Internet. the same types of scams that are conducted by the mail or telephone are now conducted on the Internet. Unlike a regular auction, you do not see what you are purchasing until it arrives. Once the other party has your money, it will be very difficult to recover it.

Insurance Fraud: Be aware of insurance agents who telephone you and tell you to cancel your old policies and purchase new ones. Insurance agents receive more of their commissions in the first year and less in subsequent years.

Home Repair Fraud: Be aware of home repair companies that solicit your business door to door or leave flyers in your mailbox or under your windshield wiper.. Contact the better business bureau to find out if the home repair company you are interested in using has complaints against them.