NEWS AND INFORMATION
In November, 2009, the Foundation of the Better Business Bureau established a toll-free phone line called BBB Senior Line – 877-637-3334. It is a dedicated line which is a safe place for seniors, their care givers, family members or concerned adults to receive reliable information on businesses, scams and frauds. Through BBB Senior Line, callers may also get pre-purchase information or file a complaint. Individuals living in Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa can take advantage of this free service.
Seniors are being ripped-off every day in record numbers by scam artists using many different types of schemes such as: Identity Theft, Fraudulent Insurance Offers, Fraudulent Charity Appeals, Foreign Lotteries, Sweepstakes, Investment Scams, Prescription Drug Offers, Home Improvement Scams and Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud. Therefore, in November, 2013, BBB added “The Scam of the Month” to the Senior Line. It is a recording by BBB’s President Jim Hegarty that describes a current scam that is victimizing consumers, especially senior citizens. “There are always people looking to make a ‘quick buck,’ and seniors are easy targets. Your BBB has added ‘The Scam of the Month’ to further educate our seniors so they will be better prepared to say ‘no’ when a scammer comes calling,” stated Hegarty.
Many of the scams that the elderly buy into come through the U.S. mail and by phone. Consumers report that they constantly receive offers and checks from companies using names that are variations of many well-known legitimate businesses and charities. The elderly are specifically targeted because they can be easily confused by too many figures and facts. They may be led to believe an enticing offer means something different than it really does.
In addition, because senior citizens are frequently at home, they can be ready prey for fraudulent telemarketers and door-to-door sales persons. Raised to be polite and accommodating, they often have difficulty saying “no” or hanging up on con artists. Also, they are inclined to trust strangers who are friendly and appear to have their best interests at heart, and may be reluctant to admit when they are victimized for fear that their families members may think they can no longer handle their own affairs.
Don’t forget that free help and information for seniors is just a phone call away! Check out BBB Senior Line at 877-637-3334 – press #1, to hear “The Scam of the Month,” and press #2 to speak with a First Responder. Calls that come on Senior Line are given priority status and are answered by a “live” person from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.