It’s a huge, multifaceted problem — the bilking of senior citizens. And making seniors aware is only part of the solution. Of course they, we, I need to be aware of and on guard against all the schemes.
But articles like The New York Times’ “Phone Swindlers Tap Into Fear and a Sense of Duty” make me angry. Once again the failed Do Not Call lists are not mentioned. There is a lot of information about frauds reported after the fact, and a link to a very informative AARP map showing the types of fraud being reported in each state. But what about doing more to prevent phone fraud, the method used by some 40% of scammers?
Where’s the demand that Do Not Call laws be given teeth and be strictly enforced? When was the last time you heard of someone going to jail for violating those laws? And when was the last time you got a phone call from a scammer or telemarketer? I’m guessing you’ve never heard about a violator being prosecuted. And I’m guessing if you have a land line, you’ve probably received at least one call like this in the last week. I often get several a day.
I’m aware of the schemes. I don’t answer the calls. But I may not always be so alert, so aware, and so intolerant of phone calls that want to cheat me or sell me something I don’t need. Someday, perhaps in a lonely, less coherent moment, I may pick up the phone and fall victim to one of those calls. Will it be my fault for having grown old and confused and daring to have a phone? Or the fault of lawmakers and law enforcement for not stopping such calls in the first place?