By DAN WEBER
Association Of Mature American Citizens
Seniors may get robocall relief if a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling prompts phone companies to implement technologies that automatically block them. The ruling is a step in the right direction.
While it is still in the early days, it appears the major phone service providers are ready to cooperate. It was good news when Verizon was quick to ‘welcome’ the ruling.
Verizon issued a statement hours after the FCC announced its decision. In it, the company stated that it is “putting robocallers on notice. We’ve got their number and we’re taking big steps to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, Apple has announced a new software update will be available in the fall that can automatically block unwanted spam callers.
However, I am taking a wait and see attitude regarding these latest efforts to rein in phone scammers. It’s a lucrative crime and the perpetrators are tech savvy enough to find new ways to prey on the elderly.
An article on the FCC ruling published by Politico noted that: “experts warn that callers slinging bogus tax bills and insurance schemes might still find a way to get through. Calls originating from overseas could present a technical challenge. And the measures are voluntary: phone companies won’t be required to take advantage of the call-blocking systems that the FCC is encouraging and could charge consumers fees for using them.”
Tech journalist and privacy advocate Paul Bischoff recently prepared an elder fraud analysis of phone scams targeting seniors for the technology research firm, CompariTech. The Bischoff report provides an eye-opening state-by-state assessment of elder fraud. He told AMAC that the FCC ruling to stop unwanted robocalls “is a step in the right direction but ultimately might not have the desired impact for consumers.”
The report revealed that seniors are primary targets for fraudsters accounting for 38 percent of scams and that there are an estimated five million cases of elder fraud annually resulting in $27.4 billion in losses.
We are hopeful that the new focus on protecting the elderly from phone scammers will have a positive effect going forward. In the meantime, just hang up if a caller starts asking for personal information or makes threats. Don’t take their word for it if they say they are calling on official business. No official will ever ask for you to reveal account numbers, Social Security numbers, or Medicare ID’s over the phone.
Dan Weber is President of The Association of Mature American Citizens (https://www.amac.us), a senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. They act and speak on members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.