Consumer Alerts

Telemarketing Fraud for Seniors

If you are age 60 or older—and especially if you are an older woman living alone—you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations.

When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud—what a caller may tell you:

  • “You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”
  • “You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
  • “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
  • “You don’t need any written information about the company or their references.”
  • “You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”

If you hear these or similar “lines” from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone.  For more information and tips to avoid these scams, visit the FBI Telemarketing Fraud web page.



Fraud Protection
Tips for Consumers
  • Reconcile your statement each month and check for unauthorized transactions.
  • Report any suspicious inquiries or unauthorized account transactions to your bank immediately.
  • Never give out your checking account number unless it is a call you have initiated.
  • Reveal checking account information only to businesses you know to be reputable.
  • Shred or tear-up canceled checks and deposit slips before discarding them.
  • Notify your bank if you don’t receive your checks in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Use dark ink, never light colors or pencil that can be easily erased or covered.
  • Don’t leave blank spaces on the payee or amount lines.