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Today "Microsoft Windows" called my mother's telephone. Both she and I picked up the phones. I listened to see how she would handle it. The call was a voice-activated tape recording. I had hoped my mother would hang up, but she didn't. First, she couldn't hear what was said. Second, she was absolutely confused. I see this a lot when she gets telemarketing calls -- all scams. We get several calls a day from various telemarketers/scammers. I am starting to see her phone as a serious problem. I would love to rip it from the wall, but she needs it to talk to other people. I've heard that AT&T is offering $50K to someone who can come up with something to detect robocalls. I hope they find something soon. I would definitely subscribe to it.

Of course, then the scammers would find some way to work around the robocall detector.

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FF, thanks for my laugh of the day! Three guys, all invisible, not contributing to the housework.... now you know what happened when your food disappears! I guess ghosts have good appetites too. If you ever see them, they need to know they're responsible for running up electrical bills watching sports!

For years I've gotten mail for 2 people who have never lived here. Just the other day I got catalogues for 2 more people who've never lived here.

It would be comical if I also didn't get debt collection calls for people I've never heard of, some of whom live in Detroit and don't pay their telephone bills.
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GardenArtist, ah ha that cross checking. I find it quite comical putting my name onto the Internet and the white pages pop up showing who all lives in my home. It shows 3 guys live here.... oh really?.... if so they must all be watching sports as nothing is getting done around the house :P
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Slightly off topic but something I experienced a few years ago still has my blood boiling:

I received a card which was a "project of" AFSCME and the League of Conservation Voters, stating:

"Whether or not you vote is a matter of public record with the Michigan Secretary of State's Bureau of Elections. Flip over to see how many times some of your neighbors voted in recent general elections."

On the other side was this:

"Your voting record and your neighbors' are public information with the Michigan Secretary of State's Bureau of Elections."

Below that was a voting history of 7 other people and me, with their addresses, as well as the fact that they voted in 2010 and 2012 elections.

Livid and annoyed, I called the Bureau of Elections and was advised by a sympathetic female staffer that there was nothing they could do about this, that the political parties by law did have access to this information. ALLEGEDLY the parties don't have access to how we voted, but just the fact that they do.

I wasn't able to determine if they could then share this information, but given that the two major parties keep annoying me with fundraising pleas, and are always on the prowl for more donations, it wouldn't surprise me if they sell the voting lists and raise money that way as well.

I think I wrote elsewhere that I've been getting unwanted catalogues, junk mail, solicitations, all I believe from the fact that one particular charity cross checked my father's name, found my name and began soliciting me at my father's address.

So now I get good mail here at home and junk mail and solicitations at my father's home.
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These scams are so scary. I found a product that will block them though. Tel-Lynx has a product called Guardian and it has advanced call blocking. Your mother's phone would only ring if it's someone in her phone book. All other calls go to voice mail, and you can set it so that your mother could not pick up voice mails from anyone unless they are in her phone book. What a relief! You can find this product on the web or on Amazon.
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My elderly cousin got a call last week from a young woman pretending to be his granddaughter, in Canada, hurt and needing money. It was the Grandparent Scam and just happened he lives near Canada and has a granddaughter. Fortunately he and his daughter were able to figure out it was a scam and no money was sent. But it really shook him up. This is a particularly terrible scam, as it's so frightening to the grandparent.
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There is an app called "Call Control" for android phones. It blocks telemarketers, Rob calls and spoof calls. It also tells you what kind of a call it blocked. Even if it was a landlune. I installed it 2 weeks ago. In that time I have received only 1 telemarketer call. I use to get about 20 annoying calls per week. All gone, this is a great app. Not sure if it works on Apple phones.
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BTW, the call blocker from hqtelecom didnt work on my parents phone.

This is a good thread. Any ideas on nuking these no good scum bags is appreciated.
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Oh these people are absolutely awful. My father used to fall for every "charity" call he'd get, he'd immediately begin spilling all sorts of personal information and promising large donations he couldn't afford. There's a special level of hell for "people" who prey on the elderly with the tricks and scams.
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FF, that scam about returning someone's call to inquire about a life alert pendant, back brace, or whatever seems to be one of the latest methods of attempting to trick someone with a poor memory into believing that he or she actually did call but just doesn't remember.

Andersen Windows has been attempting to trick me with that ruse. Guess they got the message after I disconnected their calls w/o answering, or just put them on hold and left them.

Are you getting calls from Andersen as well?
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Today on my email was an email from a company that sells products for seniors to use.... I have their catalog but was surprised that this email said I had "an item in my cart"... say what?

I hadn't been on the website in months... now I wonder how many people this company is emailing trying to get more sales? The item was small, a simple TV remote control, not that expensive. Wonder if their software is picking out things we might had looked at when on the website.

But it can make you wonder if you had fallen down that rabbit hole whenever you get email or telephone calls saying they are returning your call because you had expressed an interest in new windows... yeah right, let's replace my 2 year old windows with BRAND NEW ONES!!

I can see how some seniors can be hooked into buying things.
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I have used Tel-Lynx for the last three months in my own house and have had 0 telemarketers, robocalls, or political calls get through. Robo calls can't get through, period. Scammers would have to work at it and I suspect they would give up and try an easier "target". I wish I had this when my Mom was alive - she was bilked out of about $5,000 and Tel-Lynx could have prevented that. I think this could be the answer.
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BTW, nojoy, I do the same thing keeping my mother's information away from her. I have her credit, SS, and insurance cards. She would have to go through me to get them. She can write checks, but won't go to the mailbox anymore. I would be able to intercept any money she was sending out. My father, OTOH, compulsively ordered from catalogs and sent money to charities. He would go through his SS check some months and I was powerless to stop him.
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Another bad thing is that people who donate are rewarded by being added to a "sucker list" that is sold to other fundraisers. One donation can bring a flood of mail requests for money from the same and other companies.
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My Mom also had a problem with telemarketers and scammers. She is an easy mark as she has dementia. The problem is less now as she is physically not able to get to the phone as easy. I always offer "I'll get it" and she agrees and I am not nice to the callers. She is on a no call list but they still get through. We talked to the phone company and they helped as much as they could and we also reported a couple incidents to the police. We also took Mom's credit card from her wallet and her checkbook and locked them up for safety so she wouldn't lose or misuse them accidentally.
The problem that to me is even worse than the telemarketers and scammers is the junk mail requesting donations from seniors. My Mom who we never thought would fall for a scam was sending money all the time to these "political, charitable organizations out to save the world". When my brother and I found out we decided it was time for us to get involved in handling Mom's finances. Mom is on a opt out list for the junk mail but the stuff still gets through. Once we took over and they quit getting the dollars the requests slowed. One of the techniques I discovered that these folks use is to send out a request for a donation routinely about every two weeks. Long enough time for an elder to forget that they'd already sent a donation.
These people that scam the elderly are pure evil !! I would encourage every family member of an elderly person to pay attention. My Mom never gave any large contribution, usually $5 to $15 dollars, but when she was doing that every two weeks to many "charities" it added up.
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I hope it works, Windy. It's sad that there are so many parasites and predators in society who have no respect at all. They know the elderly are easy targets.
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I have this problem with my dad. The telemarketers, mostly dubious charities, get him on the phone and you would think he's talking to an old friend. And now he is giving his credit card number over the phone. I am going to try a call blocker (hqtelecom) on my next visit. It can be programed with a "white list" that only allows numbers or area codes that you program into the device . It's very small and my dad won't even notice it pluged into the phone jack. With dads dementia progressing these snakes could take him for every last cent.
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I just tried to sign up for Nomorobo for my mother's traditional landline, but was told that AT&T doesn't support it yet. Maybe they will soon. What carrier do you use, geewiz? I wonder if AT&T issued the $50K reward this week because they didn't want to buy Nomorobo, but get their own. The $50K was on the news yesterday, so I assumed it was a recent offer. (Could be wrong here)
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i strongly conferred with my senators office on the matter . for those who wont even try that step , your part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution .
the representatives cant read your mind , you have to talk to them .
i just wrote to the indiana atty general two days ago because my mortgage holder has been assessing random late fees to my mortgage because forced insurance is keeping me in arrears . id been assured that there would be no fees as long as i kept overpaying my mortgage to cover the annual forced insurance cost . i was lied to and stolen from . if the atty general cant get it fixed at least the bank will stop viewing me as a brain dead patsy .
your representative ( theoretically ) work for you . ive never hesitated hooking up with them ..
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Good news to Jessie and others, the $50,000 was awarded and the solution implemented. Sign up at nomorobo The phone rings once and the system intercepts about 97% of the calls. We LOVE it for ourselves. At first read it didn't seem like my phone qualified but I went thru all the sign on procedures and it is working great. 8 months and counting here. AND I enrolled my MIL as well.
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One problem I could see having a phone that would accept only calls from certain numbers is that some doctor offices the Staff will use their own cellphones to call us to remind of a doctor appointment, or an automatic calling service that does the reminding which is sometimes is an 800's type number.

My Dad got that IRS scam call where he was told he owes the IRS money, pay now or get arrested.... he said he told them to call his Accountant, to which the caller hung up.

Oh, one thing I noticed with a landline if someone is hard of hearing do not pick up an extension as that makes the call faint sounding. That happens whenever I call my parents house and Dad answers... I then want to talk to Mom, so Dad goes looking for her... she goes to her own phone and keeps saying "hello" over and over until Dad hangs up his phone, then Mom can hear me better.
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We do have cell phones that will do that, but I don't know about other phones. My mother has to have one that amplifies. When I bought her a new phone, it had to be like her old phone, because I knew she would have problems learning a new model. I wonder if AT&T (our provider) has something that could do incoming call filtering. That would work, since I could give the doctors and businesses my cell number.
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How about a phone that would only accept incoming and/or outgoing calls to pre-programmed numbers? That would solve a lot of issues and still allow seniors to talk to friends and family, and I think it is certainly within the scope of modern technology. I assume once our loved ones reach this stage we would want to handle all their business/doctors type calls ourselves anyway.
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You know what I would love to have? Something that would send a pulse over the wire to disable the network calling. That would be super-hero cool.
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