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Phone Safety for Seniors

Senior woman using smartphone

 

If you are a senior or a caregiver for a senior, you probably know about keeping  sensitive information in secure places.  And you have probably heard of cases where fraud has occurred when unscrupulous people got personal information and committed fraud or identity theft.

Buy what do you do about phone safety for your elderly or sick relative?

First, you should have quick and easy contact numbers for the one you are caring for, whether you are in the home or give care from a distance. It is comforting to check in with Dad or Mom regularly during the day, just to see that everything is okay.  It is absolutely necessary for Dad and Mom to have a phone that is easy to use in case they need to call for help.

But who else is calling Dad and Mom, and why? Elderly parents generally were raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists will exploit these traits. Best to sit down and talk over safe phone use in today’s world.

  • Have a talk about who normally calls the house and what calls they should normally make.
  • Get the phone numbers and write them down on a list, most important numbers at the top of the list. If your loved one has memory lapses or confusion, it might be necessary to post that list where it can easily be seen and found. That way your loved one can recognize a number on caller ID, and know if it is on the “Acceptable” list.
  • You can program a list into their phones with names and numbers.
  • With Caller ID on land lines and on cell phones, you can get a list of numbers which have called and the time of the call also.
  • Teach them it’s OK to say “NO” and “Goodbye” and hang-up.
  • Explain thank it is dangerous to give out any personal information on the phone, especially:
    • Social Security Numbers
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit/Debit Card Numbers
    • Any account numbers or any kind
    • Names and address.
    • Whether your “home alone” or not.

If you find that there are unwanted telemarketers calling your loved one, and your loved one does not want these calls, then take steps to stop those calls by placing your phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. This is a national list of phone numbers which marketers are notified not to call for unsolicited telemarketing.  The federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home.

To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. There is no separate registry for cell phones. The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). You must call from the phone number that you want to register. To register online (donotcall.gov), you will need to respond to a confirmation email.

You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when you choose to remove a number from the registry.

If you would like to learn more about the risk of fraud and senior safety visit Fraud Target: Senior Citizens produced by the FBI.

Any ideas? We’re open to your suggestions.

Greg