Today’s post is a topic that we should never have to deal with, but we do and so here it is.
For a number of years, I ran a Senior Companion Care organization. Unfortunately, there are people who try to take advantage anyone they can. There are few things that make me madder.
At some point, our home phone number got on a list and then shared. We get calls, lots of calls. Mostly from places selling “I’ve fallen and can’t get up medical alert systems.” But… every so often we get the scammers. The people who make their living, if you can call it that, taking advantage of others.
The first call was eye opening. I was scared because a collection company was trying to reach me. They left a message, with my name. It sounded official. Who wouldn’t get scared? But… I knew that I didn’t owe anyone any money. That it must be a mistake. So I called them back to clear it up. When I wouldn’t give them the information they requested, they hung up on me.
My next call was to the New York State Attorney General.
A different collection agency, Alliance One, called again today. Since our home phone now goes direct to voicemail, they left a very convincing message. This time I was ready. So I called back(800-858-4506) and Tamara eventually answered.
I know that, to my knowledge, there are no past due debts in my name. Must be credit card fraud or a scam. Either way, I knew… DON’T SHARE PRIVATE INFO WITH ANYONE YOU DIDN’T CALL.
When Tamara answered and wanted my info (name address and social security number)… I knew that wasn’t right.
Remember… THEY had called ME. Shouldn’t they have all that info? And be able to provide it to me for confirmation?
She got a little flustered when I would only share the phone number they called and to confirm that I was the person they were looking for (I DID NOT give her my name… they called me, right?).
Then she hung up. So I called back.
Same drill… and the next operator hung up too.
I contacted the New York State Attorney General.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give your information to someone you did not call. Calling back doesn’t classify as someone you called.
They may try to make you feel bad. Don’t let them. You have done nothing wrong.
Six things you can do to create a scam-free zone:
- NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give out your private information to someone who calls you.
- Hang up on them or don’t answer the phone at all – let them leave a message. They are trying to reach thousands of people to find a few they can scam. Don’t feel bad.
- Ask for it in writing. This is your right and any collector must comply. If it’s a true collection attempt, they will know where to reach you in writing. Don’t tell them where to send it, they should know.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, or Your State Attorney General.
- Record the call (of course ask permission if your state requires it) and tell them you will be sharing it with any of the above organizations.
- Have fun with the call. If you know it’s a scam, engage them. They’ll tire quickly and possibly(hopefully) remove your name because you’re not an easy mark.
Be sure to contact the authorities. If you don’t know here to start, start at your local police department. Ask them who to call if you’re not sure.