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Grandparent Scam

 

Sadly, we’ve all heard stories about elderly men and women who have been solicited or scammed. So it should come as no surprise that some reports indicate an estimated $37 billion is lost annually due to elder fraud.  The goal of all scammers is to obtain personal or financial information about their victims in order to commit fraud. One of the best ways to avoid this trap is to say “no” before a solicitor has the opportunity to manipulate you.

However, because scam calls and other illegal solicitations continue to evolve and become more aggressive, it can be difficult to refuse a persistent and often aggressive scam attempt.  That’s why the AARP suggests preparing a refusal script.

A refusal script is a short, pre-written statement that can be applied to almost any solicitation.  Once rehearsed, it offers an easy way out of any requests/demands you may receive.  Here are a few examples:

“I believe that account is all paid up/I don’t believe I owe any money. I’ll double check and give the main office a call back as soon as possible.” 

“This is not something I need/am interested in, but thank you for your time.” 

“My son/daughter can help me with that. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

It’s usually best to not pick up calls from unknown numbers. But in an event you do receive a scam call, a refusal script can help you be firm, quick, and confident with a response. And in general, remember, no government agency or legitimate company accepts payment by gift card and few use wire transfers; police don’t give you a head’s up that they are coming to arrest you; and computer repairmen do not monitor your computer for viruses. For more information on spotting a scam, you can refer to our Consumer Guide to Scams.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry.

 

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