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Every year thousands of people lose money due to telephone scams. The loss may range from a few dollars to an entire life savings. Here are some tips that may help you recognize these calls and what you can do about them.

Why are they bothering me?

Everyone is a potential target. Fraud isn’t limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, education or income. Scammers do tend to target seniors because they are seen as more trustworthy, live alone, and have financial resources that the scammer can obtain.

Can I stop the calls?

There is no single thing you can do to stop them all. You may be able to use an app on your cell phone to help identify a potential scam call and there are services that your phone provider may offer that can help. The easiest, least expensive thing you can do is to have a ‘caller-ID’ service and not answer the phone if you do not recognize the number of the incoming call. Understand that whatever you do, you can’t stop them all!

Ok, what action should I take if I do receive a scam call?

The first thing to do is identify if the call is a scam or not. If the caller claims that you have been, “specially selected for this offer” or, “you will receive a free bonus for buying the product", or, “you have won a valuable prize", it's most likely a SCAM. The caller may also claim to have medication that he/she can sell you at a discounted price.

The scammer will want to work fast and will likely discourage you from asking questions or allow you time to research the claims. The scammer wants to take advantage of you while you are on the phone.

Whatever you do, DO NOT give the caller any of your personal information! This includes your social security number, bank account information and/or credit card numbers. Also, your bank will NEVER call asking you to “confirm” your account number. Remember - they gave it to you!

Where can I go to get more help?

  1. National “Do Not Call Registry” at: https://www.donotcall.gov/
  2. Federal Trade Commission at: https://www.ftc.gov/
  3. Montgomery County Police Department at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/index.html
  4. MCPD KSS webpage at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/seniors/index.html
  5. Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/OCP/index.html
  6. Montgomery County States Attorney Office at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sao/index.html