By Matilda Charles
We’ve all experienced it: We rush to answer the phone, and it’s a robocall, a computer-generated message trying to sell us something or tell us a lie. We’ve won a free cruise. We’ve won a big lottery prize. Our “warranty” is about to expire.
There are any number of reasons to hate robocalls, but for seniors there are two serious ones. We could fall as we dash to the phone. And we might get caught up in whatever scam is involved in the call.
If you pick up the phone and press a number to ask to be removed from the list, no one will answer, and you’ve only verified that your number works.
If you select another number to press to talk to someone to ask to be taken off the list, you get added to a special list of people who actually answer the phone and are immediately transferred to someone who gives you the sales pitch. If you hesitate even for a second in saying no, you go on a list of people are not only answer the phone, but press buttons to talk to people and who can likely be sold whatever they’re selling.
Do you see where this is going? The answer is: Do not answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number.
One difficulty in combatting robocalls is that the scammers behind them are hard for authorities to trace. They could be anywhere in the world, and they ignore the Do Not Call registry.
If you’re particularly annoyed by these robocalls, go online to the government site at www.consumer.ftc.gov and search for robocalls. Or look at Consumer Reports robocall information at consumersunion.org/end-robocalls and consider signing the petition. You also can call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-225-5322.
(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.