By Former MoneyWise Staffer, Kelly Griese
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Here at Indiana MoneyWise, we're committed to protecting all Hoosiers from fraud and scams, especially as they relate to investing. Senior citizens are frequently targeted by con artists, and many of the crimes start with a phone call. Our friends at Indiana Senior Medicare Patrol wrote this guest blog post on the subject of unwanted calls. Below, they discuss the Do Not Call List and robocalls, and how both apply to the older adult population.
Don't Be Afraid to Just... Block Calls
Why do I keep getting robocalls? I’m receiving even MORE spam calls during the pandemic! I’m on the Do Not Call List (state and federal) -- why doesn’t that help?
We frequently hear these frustrations from older adults and their families when they call to report a healthcare or consumer fraud scam. We tell them to “SCREEN ALL CALLS -- don’t pick up any call unless you’re sure it’s from someone you know”.
But, we also realize that older adults often live alone and look forward to calls from friends and family. Older adults also are more likely to be waiting for return calls from medical professionals. Some older adults are still working in positions that require you to answer unknown callers. Some folks with dementia answer all calls. Further, the telephone has been a lifeline and safe way to stay connected for those stuck at home during the pandemic.
So, what’s the answer? It can be complicated.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shared a blog on How to Stop Unwanted Calls. Here are some of things you can learn about blocking or screening calls by reading the blog:
- You may need to take a different strategy whether you are trying to block calls on a mobile phone, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) or a regular landline.
- Your device may have built-in options.
- The carrier you use may offer their own options.
- Some blocking services, apps or devices are free, others may charge a fee.
- Report unwanted calls to reportfraud.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP.
The blog also reviews the National Do Not Call Registry, robocalls and call spoofing. We recommend you follow the FTC on your preferred social media site.
In addition to the FTC, Indiana agencies are also working to protect you from healthcare and consumer fraud.
When it comes to protecting your investment, making a call to the Indiana Securities Division can help you avoid losing money to a con artist. Call our staff at 317-232-6681 to request a background check on someone before investing with them. You can also use our online portal to conduct a registration search. Investment professionals in Indiana must be registered.
This background check is just one part of investigating before you invest. Here are some questions you should ask.
- What services do you offer?
- What licenses, registrations, qualifications, and experience do you have to offer these services?
- Are you a broker, investment adviser, financial planner, or any combination of the three?
- Can you provide me with your CRD number, and, if not, why not?
- Are you required to always act in my best interest?
- Do you have potential conflicts of interest when providing me with investment advice?
- How are you paid? Explain commissions or fees you may charge.
These questions are not exhaustive, and the answers may raise additional questions to be answered. You can find a lot more information about how to avoid investment fraud by visiting the Indiana MoneyWise website.
Numerous Indiana agencies and organizations are working to protect you. In addition to the Indiana Secretary of State's Securities Division, here are some trusted sources of information and assistance when it comes to identifying and reporting fraud and scams.
Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Senior Medicare Patrol Program
Indiana Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division
Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana
Blog topics: Archive, Fraud Prevention, Investing
The MoneyWise Matters blog has a wealth of information about managing money and avoiding fraud. You can look through the complete archive here.