Feb 23, 2012

An ounce of prevention against financial fraud

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? So with financial fraud against the elderly - in fact, against everyone - a blossoming industry, here are two "ounces" you'll want to take to heart, both for yourself and your elderly loved ones:

Keep solicitations from landing in your mailbox. 

You have a defense against junk mail solicitations. Among the services that claim to be able to dramatically cut down on the amount of junk mail you receive are:

These are not free services. The first, for example, charges $19.95 a year. If any of my readers decide to use one of these services or a similar one, please let your co-readers know about your experiences, good or bad, by posting a comment on this blog.

Register your phone number(s) with the National Do Not Call List:

Much of the fraud perpetrated on the elderly is via telephone solicitations. It follows that if you can cut down on unwanted phone calls, you also cut down on the likelihood of falling prey to a solicitation.  Contact the National Do Not Call Registry and register your phone number(s).

However, as I've noticed with my own registered home number, this process will only cut down on the number of calls you receive; it won't stop them completely. That's because there a variety of callers that are exempt. For instance, the FCC, which manages the Do Not Call Registry, does not have jurisdiction over political or charitable solicitations. 

For phone solicitations that aren't eliminated by registering your phone number, ask the caller to put you on his organization's internal do not call list. Urge your parents to do the same. These requests are supposed to be honored, so keep track. If you get more calls, let the Do Not Call Registry know.

By the way, you do not need to re-contact Do Not Call once you're registered your number. Once your number is on the list, there is no "expiration date."

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