Your cell phone rings and the caller ID displays a number you don’t recognize. The robotic voice on the other end tells you that you may be in trouble with the IRS or that you won a million dollars. You might get excited or anxious, but before you do anything ask yourself: Did that call make any sense?
According to an article in the Washington Post, Americans received over 26 billion robocalls in 2018 alone. Some are scams designed to take money from your bank account. Senior citizens are often the most vulnerable targets.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, state Reps. Noreen Kokoruda and Vincent Candelora visited the Durham Activity Center to introduce a presentation by AARP fraud watch volunteer Byron Peterson.
“The amount of scams that are attempted and sometimes are successful every month in this country are growing in incredible numbers,” said Kokoruda.
Peterson’s presentation showed that the top three scams in Connecticut involve debt collection, identity theft and imposters.
“Four years ago I had the opportunity to become a millionaire,” said Peterson. “Yes, I won Publisher’s Clearing House and I just danced around that kitchen until something called logic –otherwise known as my wife – asked a few questions.”
Peterson said that once his wife began asking questions he started to piece together that he was almost scammed.
“I have gotten a lot of these scam calls. I’ve gotten IRS calls and they sound very serious, like you’re going to be in trouble if you don’t call right away,” said Lainy Melvin, chair of the Durham Senior Citizens Board.
Peterson said that it’s important to ask questions to “take control of the conversation.”
“And despite what our mothers and fathers said, you can be rude to them if necessary,” he said.
After you hang up, contact the police, Peterson added.
To avoid scam calls visit donotcall.gov to get on the do not call registry. You can also call them at 888-382-1222.