Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Figures reveal that senior citizens who are living on their own might be a special target for telemarketing scams which originate from the Philippines. Scammers operating from Manila have been identified as operating telemarketing scams which target U.S. and Australia citizens mainly. Trained sellers would call their victims offering services and bogus products to them, free prizes, low cost vitamins, health care products or inexpensive vacations, with the aim to get your personal and banking information. The goal of the criminals is to have a friendly sales call with a senior, and to extract as much information as possible, later to be used for further phishing and identity theft tactics to eventually access the victims’ bank account or financial information. Philippines detectives say if the offer sounds too good to pass up, the best thing to do is hang up.

Whether it’s an email address, phone number date of birth or address, experts says it’s always best to reveal as little information as possible. One piece of information may seem harmless enough to give out over the phone, but law enforcement and reputable Philippines private investigation firms like Philippine PI™ say criminal use information they already know to put the pieces together, and then use that information to their advantage. For example, criminals in Manila recently were using public records to target seniors. They used the phone book to find the subject’s full name, address and telephone number. Then, by making scam phone calls pretending to be a bank or government official, scammers were able to obtain many dates of birth and even ID numbers. Taken together, criminals were able to steal some senior citizens’ identity, and even in some cases, access bank account information and steal significant amounts of money.

Philippines investigators explain that telemarketers can often be recruited by criminals to use their sales skills for illegal purposes. The person on the other side of the phone will pressure you to make a fast decision because the offer will expire in 30 minutes, or will be a serious security issue for your bank account, and you have to act fast or your account could be at risk. With a skilled sales person and convincing pitch, and pressure to act, many seniors fall for the scam and reveal their account numbers (for verification) or also their ID numbers (also for verification). The convincing criminal explains it is for their own security of their accounts that they verify. In some cases telemarketing scams can also use emails to further increase credibility and trust.

Unless the company identifies itself and is a company or institution you are familiar with, it’s best to hang up. If they offer you something free, be skeptical, and end the call for your own safety. Nothing in this world is free, unfortunately. If it is a bank or institution you are familiar with and have an account with, explain to the caller that you will call the bank back directly, at the number that is listed on your statement from your bank, to be sure you’re conversation is secure.

Never send any money to anyone you don’t know. Avoiding providing your credit card or bank account number, and never reveal your ID number. A big warning sign is when the telemarketer tells you “You don’t need to speak to anyone about this offer” or “You need to act now if you’re interested in the offer” which are major red flags for fraud and criminal activity.

Legitimate companies identify themselves accordingly and often inform you of good promotions and offers they have in a different way, such as via the physical mail or on their company website. A respectable company will never call you directly and pressure you to make a decision.

Stay skeptical and be aware of the risk for fraud and scams. If seniors have any doubt about the legitimacy of an offer or company, they should contact a reputable private investigation company or their local law enforcement or Better Business Bureau for assistance.     G48HWKZRSP63
Best of luck,

A Hathaway
© 2011 A Hathaway

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