Posts Tagged ‘calls’

SCAM Update and Warning about Robocalls

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

There was recently an article in the AARP Bulletin on that had to do with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) cracking down on new scams. This made us think we should do a blog update on scams and pass out some new warnings from the FTC.

What’s new? Well, it seems scammers are now impersonating medical alert companies in order to get money or personal information (to steal your identity) from seniors. The scams are coming in the form of phone calls, sometimes with a live person and sometimes an automated or robocall. The calls are either trying to sell you a system, often using very strong tactics to get you to give your credit card or other payment information or they are stating that you (or someone you know) have already ordered the system and demanding payment. They have even been known to threaten legal action if you don’t pay up.

What you should know. Robocalls are illegal. But you may be asking, what is a Robocall? Well, direct from the FTC, here is an explanation of a robocall:

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. You’ve probably gotten robocalls about candidates running for office, or charities asking for donations. These robocalls are allowed. But if the recording is a sales message and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam.

So, what should you do if you get a robocall? The FTC recommends that you, hang up the phone. They also say you shouldn‚Äôt press 1 to speak to a live operator and don’t press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

What else can you do?

• Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number, ask about whether they charge for that service. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.

• Report your experience to the FTC online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0341-file-complaint-ftc or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Some other helpful tips:

If you get an unsolicited call, hang up. Don’t even ask for details from someone making a cold call.

If you are interested in a medical alert product, gather the information and ask for documentation of fees up front.

Beware of offers that state your insurance will cover medical alert programs or that you can get them for free. Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies will not pay for this service.

Don’t pay for anything that you didn’t order. Hang up and contact authorities to make a complaint if you are threatened.

And again, don’t press any numbers as prompted in the robocall, this could just notify them that this is a live, working phone number and you could become the target of future calls or scams.

For more information from the Federal Trade Commission visit: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0259-robocalls

To Smart Phone or not to Smart Phone?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Some of you may have even struggled with the idea of a cell phone at all. You may have laughed at how many young people relied on them. You probably hated it when you finally caved and got a cell phone. Now, you see all your kids, grandkids and maybe even some friends with an i phone, droid or other smart phone.

What can a smart phone really do for you? What’s the purpose? Isn’t a phone just for making phone calls? First it was texting, then email and now apps?? What the heck is an app?

An app, short for application, is a program you order through your smart phone, they can be games, sports or news information and even recipes.

Being the first one to have something new, or being “in the know” can be a badge of honor. So don’t be surprised if friends and relatives want to show you what great apps they’ve downloaded.

 Here are some stats from AgeWave about Boomers and products

• On average, most baby boomers are asked for product or service recommendations about 90 times per year.

• Nearly 90 percent of boomers who were asked to give advice gave it to their fellow boomers.

• Practically all boomers consider their family and friends to be their most trusted sources of information

So, you can see that once a few boomers get their hands on a smart phone and start accessing apps, you’ll be hearing about it and may soon find yourself with one too. Apps are sometimes free or sometimes come with a one-time small fee of anywhere from $1.99 to $5.99 and up. Apps can also be used on i pads or other tablet devices.

Here are 8 free apps that we heard just had to be downloaded unless you want to be considered uncool:

• Dropbox—Dropbox lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. You load it on your computer and your smartphone then you never email yourself a file again. It’s easy to use and easy to set up.

• Flixster– Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about movies. You can find the theaters, get show times, and watch trailers. It’s fast, visual and easy to use.

• Words with Friends—this app is a takeoff of Scrabble. Play with friends or strangers via your smart phone or tablet. Build words for points, see who scores the highest. Very good to keep your mind engaged.

• Whitepages— Use this free, easy to use app from your smartphone. Find, people, businesses and reverse phone lookups from those unknown numbers that show up on your phone.

• Zite—Users select categories of magazines that interest them. Then as you read articles on certain subjects. Zite sends you more articles on those subjects. You have options to email the articles to others or save them later to read on your iPad.

• The Weather Channel—More than 200 meteorologists provide interactive and hour by hour weather imagery. Great for planning outdoor activities, car washes or snow shoveling.

• WebMD—first aid information, symptom checkers, drugs and treatments, information on various conditions and local health listings. There are also many videos on treatments and common conditions like bad backs, fevers, diabetes signs. An excellent app for Boomers and Seniors.

 • Flashlight—So easy and so helpful. With a single touch your phone turns into a valuable flashlight that can be used to find your keys or read a menu.