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I have explained to her how dangerous it is for her to talk to people she doesn't know. I have given her printouts of stories where elderly people have been taken advantage of. But, she continues to do it. Her memory has gotten really bad, so I know she forgets. And, I also know she misses her friends and is hoping the call is from someone she knows. How do I protect her?

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I wish I knew.. My mom is from the generation that if the phone rang you answered it,, it would be someone you knew. Now with Robocalls and scammers its impossible to get her to adjust. She thinks she can outsmart them. We only have a land line because she could not figure out a cell phone! Luckily her hearing is bad.. so she often does not hear it ring,, and when we are home she lets it for us.
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It might sound cruel, but if she has a life alert device that would enable her to call for help if needed--maybe take the phone away, if it's a situation where she might give out information that would lead to someone scamming her or stealing from her. Or perhaps she could be set up with a phone that is good for 911 calls only? Of course that would prevent you from being able to receive calls from her. Depending on your phone service maybe some calls can be blocked. Are there any activities she enjoys or that she might enjoy that would keep her from missing the phone? Do you live close enough that you or others see her daily to check on her if she goes without a cell phone so that you can take care of day to day needs? If someone is living in the house with her, maybe she'd be able to go without a cell phone.
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gaylynn Jan 8, 2020
My brother and I discussed taking her phone away. That is definitely not an option. We moved her away from her friends over a year ago. Her phone is her only way to keep those communication lines open. Also, she has sisters, my brother and of course myself. She would not fair well without her phone. She is scared to death that she might break her phone and I know it's because it's her lifeline to the world (her friends/family). She is pretty self sufficient for a person her age. It's her periodic memory loss that causes her to forget my warnings.
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My mom also loved the phone. She had been a telephone operator in her early years and it was like an extension of her hand. She's forgotten how to use it now, but she always answered every ring before she went to assisted living. Luckily, she is a suspicious person, so she never gave information out, but she called the police by accident several times while trying to call time and temperature - similar numbers. She must have been the only person in modern times who used the phone to find out the time and temperature. Does your mom even know any of the information someone might get out of her? Mom mom doesn't any longer. She answers every question that stumps her with "ask my daughter". I wonder if there is some way you could instill in your mom that all questions should be directed to you.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jan 6, 2020
I had to laugh at the comment about calling time and temp. My mom was an operator in the 50s-60s when they had to actually place a plug into the board....and until a few months ago when i got her an iphone, she stilled dialed the time and temp #....now she just looks at the weather channel ap.....she is 86 and relatively healthy for her age....but she still is getting used to her new phone....
🤣🤣
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We printed a sheet up, with large print, near her phone. 

If someone you don't know calls --

"My daughter handles all my money, you really have to call her, at xxx.xxx.xxxx.  Thank you and have a great day"
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gaylynn Jan 8, 2020
This may be the best option. I could make a large sign that is right below her television, in front of her chair that she can refer to if it's someone she doesn't know. I will try that. Thank you
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My dad used to do this. He got so far with a scammer once that he was asking me to tell her his SSN. After that we had to implement a phone screening policy. Never pick up the phone unless they leave a message and you know who it is.

You can cut down on this by switching from real phone service to VOIP or cell. You can transfer the number if you want to keep it. Both VOIP and cell have much better filter options for filtering out scammers. That's why there is much less telemarketing calls on cell phones than hardlines. If you want, you can even setup a VOIP service to work exactly like a hardline. Your mom can even use the exact same phone. She'll never know it's VOIP.
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gaylynn Jan 8, 2020
She has a cell phone, but not a computer. I'm not sure how having a cell phone will help this situation. The calls that come through are just random phone numbers, just like we get on our landline. We just never answer our landline. But, mom is so afraid that she might miss a call from an old friend that she answers without thinking. I've told her if it's a friend that's not in her contact list they will leave a message. But, that doesn't help when her faulty memory doesn't remember that. Also, her cell phone is the old flip phone, not a smart phone. Probably not many options.
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You must have call guardian services of some sort, haven't you? These are automated systems which intercept calls before the phone rings in the home. Unrecognised callers get a message asking them to state their name. The system then rings the phone in the home, the subscriber hears the recorded name, and if it's approved the call is put through.

You can program them so that authorised numbers get through without being intercepted, I believe (I don't have one myself, my SIL has and I think I'm on her approved list!).
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It’s so hard to get them not to answer the phone. They feel it may be an important call. Sometimes it is. Sometimes doctor’s offices call to reschedule doctor visits because the doctor won’t be in the office that day.

It’s not always from the same number as the number patients call, so it’s tricky.

Block numbers. I receive so many robo calls. Blocking does no good because another one pops up. It’s such a pain.
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Do you live with your mom or is she living on her own or in AL? Her faulty memory will prevent any real solution to this (been there, done that). I resorted to having her calls diverted to my phone so that I at least could answer calls from her doctors or other important communications. Robo calls are now outlawed, so those should drop off dramatically. Maybe you will need to be with her and help her call out to her friends. Honestly if her memory is that compromised I'd be making sure she's remembering to eat. That's what happened to my MIL. Good luck!
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Sign her number up with NoMoRobo.com. They don't block eery call, but the number will drop drastically within minutes of signing up. Also, you text any scam numbers that get through, and they add them to their database. They're easy to spot on the caller ID because they'll show up just a number with no name, or they'll say "Unknown Caller," or be the same area code and first three digits of her own number.

NoMoRobo.com is free for VOIP lines, but I think there's a monthly fee for cell phones. It isn't available on landlines as far as I know.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 8, 2020
Thanks for this info! Those calls are so annoying for the elderly. The text messages too.
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I have the big sign next to the phone that says *I don't know call my daughter*
Well now with the dementia she never even answers the phone. EXCEPT a couple of weeks ago. Someone called and asked her for her SS#. She couldn't remember it so she went and got it out of her purse and gave it to them. The caregiver arrived just as she repeated her SS# to the caller. Of course it was on caller ID and when you call it it is a number that is not in service. I spent an hour on the phone setting up Lifelock.
When I asked her why on earth she would give her SS# to a scam artist on the phone! She said well he asked for it. Ahhhh dementia.
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needtowashhair Jan 8, 2020
Caller ID means nothing. You can set that to anything. People don't realize how wide open phone communications are. If you know what you are doing, you can listen into anyone's conversation from anywhere in the world.

I would have spent that hour freezing her credit and banking reports. It's free to do now and happens instantly. That's the best way to avoid the big consequences of identity theft. Everyone should freeze their reports regardless of age. There's no reason not to anymore. Before when it cost $10 a pop and took days to unfreeze, it was costly and a hassle. But now you can freeze/unfreeze for free and it happens instantly.

You can get credit monitoring for free. Some credit card companies offer it.
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We tried a device called the CPR call blocker - available on amazon - and if the person remembers to push the red button to block the scam caller then that number is no longer able to call through. My mom doesn't consistently remember to do that. She has been scammed by these phone low-lifes to the tune of about $20,000 in the past year (all was recovered/cancelled) but with each incident I have wrestled additional pieces of financial freedom from her. I have her credit cards, check book, Social Security and Medicare cards, and now I also have her debit card that was cancelled after the last event. Thankfully she is living in assisted living and does not need money on a daily basis. She answers the calls and talks ever so nicely and politely to the people on the other end!! SMH.
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Cell phones are easy to block unwanted calls. My LG had a feature that only those on my contacts list ring thru. The others go to VM or drop off when it rings into VM. Those calls you can get into her VM and delete. If you see the same number is calling all the time, then u block it.

On my Samsung, I have it set to Do Not Disturb. By doing that I can tell set it for contacts only ring thru. I can also block a certain number.

I have caller ID on my landline phone. I only pick up those phone # and names I know.

I too drumed it into my Mom that when asked for money or info she was to say her daughter handled her finances. And she did this. My DHs Aunt lets them talk and then tells them she is not interested. I tell her just hang up.
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Caller ID is unreliable and cannot be trusted. Scammers can easily spoof numbers so you have no idea if the number on your caller ID is correct.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 8, 2020
I have even received calls from my own number! Stupid robocalls...
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Is this her house phone or cell phone? I ask because there are phones and or phone services that offer call blocking, some you need actually push a button when you get a call from a number you want to block and others you can have it only put through calls from numbers you tell it are OK the way you can with some smart phones. Maybe something like this would help?
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Lymie61 Jan 8, 2020
My dad has a phone system that announces the name of the caller too, not sure if that might help...
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Gaylynn, go to your mother's cell phone's network provider's website and see what they offer in the way of call minder services. You may be pleasantly surprised :)
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Reply to Countrymouse
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If the phone goes straight to voice mail, and keep it low, perhaps she won't hear it. And tell her she can screen the call... If They Leave A Message. it might be of some importance, but the most are Non issue callers, usually hang up..



Get her used to saying that she is the babysitter, the parents will be home later. can I take a message? If they say anything but yes, just hang up the phone. No reason to be nice.
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write a list of names and facilities from most important to least. Do get the phone that says loudly who the number belongs to. My neighbor has it. Oh it's grandkids school calling again, late start tomrrow, she didn't bother answering it.
It's my granddaughter,, got to get it... It works for her. I think you have to enter the names for phone to recognize... Not sure. One Man called my mom when I was visiting.. I was so angry. I called him back and said: How Dare you ask a senior citiszen for her Social Security numbe.r Don't you have a mother? How would you feel? It still angers me there are people out there doing that stuff.
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Karencd Jan 10, 2020
I wasn't so lucky. Whenever I want to call the numbers back (and sometimes there is no number), I can't get anyone.
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If it gets too bad, just turn the darn thing off for a few hours. or the day. Especially around election time....
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I feel for you...my mother has fallen for phone scams (your computer has bugs and we need to perform "whatever" to fix it..oh by the way it will cost you $150.00 plus) and has fallen for the scam where she wound up buying a bunch of gift cards and wound up costing the bank over $3K and losing her checking account (the bank did not come back to her for the money but they did send a nice letter ending their financial relationship) and I wound up getting her an account that was a sub-account to mine so I can monitor daily what is going on . Recently, something popped up on her computer stating her checking account had been accessed (not true) and I walked in just as she was trying to give them access to the computer. All of this happened in the last 18 months. She is pretty good at hanging up on the calls now but continues to answer her phone on the off chance it is my brother or sister calling. It doesn't get easier.
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Indiana offers a CapTel phone for free for hearing loss elderly. It teletypes the message which is great as I don't have to yell on my end and its not so good with hearing aides. You can also input numbers and names. Mom knows if a name does not show up its a scam and not to answer. I showed her my cell phone blocked numbers portion to show her how many scammers call me. As I tried to call back each number is was the recording the number you have dialed is not a working number... So she sees how easy and to anyone. We got rid of land lines many years ago. This feeds off the magic jack off the wifi. Magic Jack costs me like $36 a year and she can call anyone in the US. Just food for thought. Mom didn't want to get rid of landline but as I told her everyone calls me on cell and we would be giving her new # to like 10 people... Just food for thought...
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My mom would give info out to whomever asked, changed the electric carrier for a $50 gift card. When I changed it back we had no bill for months! I turned off the ringer. Her dementia is too advanced for her to make a call. All the calls are forwarded to my cell phone. We call her sister through Alexa ,it can call anyone in my phones contact list. I live with her and she is never alone.
Maybe a cell phone with those important people in the contacts. Their names would be on the screen when they call. Different ringer sounds can be set for the people on close friends list, the rest of the callers could be set to something that doesn't sound like a phone, like a water drip, etc. Once the memory gets worse, nothing will work...
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This isn't helpful, but my mother talked their ear off telling them all her bodily complaints. They hung up on her. Locking credit is best.
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Karencd Jan 10, 2020
Lol!
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Good Luck to you - my mother thought it was wonderful that people called her.
I was unable to ever convince her that these were not friends, they were people trying to get money from her. Sadly, she often made donations that she really shouldn't have. Any time I tried to tell her otherwise, she shut me down.

I finally got tired of beating my head against the wall. It really was her money and I had to allow her to talk to people that weren't thinking of her best interests.
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Discontinue house phone. Keep only your cell phone and maybe cell phone for her. Place all phone numbers on do not call register. Make sure to install features to block all numbers that are unrecognized.
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First put a credit freeze on moms accounts. Take away her credit cards and anything she can read off - ss card for example. Mom managed to get on every scammers list so I programmed her phone to ring twice before going to voicemail. (Her discrimination is gone and will talk with anyone now.) We can answer if a real call but she is unable to that quickly. A real caller will leave a message and we help her call back
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Have you spent a significant amount of time with her in her home lately? I'd do that and observe how she is operating. You say that her memory is really bad. I suspect that she is not going to be capable of remembering what you are telling her. Has she been diagnosed with cognitive decline? Notes may not help either. If the reminder notes don't work, I'd really explore plans to have her supervised.

When my LO started having trouble with financial things, I didn't realize the extent of it. I knew that she divulged way too much information to store clerks about her bank accounts, like how much was in them. Then, she started chatting with people in parking lots who asked her for cash. She could not resist their pleas, which was dangerous.

THEN, one day she called me in a panic and said that she had really made a mistake. She had let TWO complete strangers into her home and gave them her ss#, bank account info, driver license, date of birth, bank card no., etc. AND signed a contract for a home security system! I immediately went to work to confirm their identity and they were legit, but, what if they had not been? They could have wiped out her assets or harmed her. At that point, I knew that she was not able to resist exploitation. At some point, they are not able to handle situations like that.
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Scams are always a concern not only for the elderly but everyone. Have you registered her telephone number with the national do not call list? As an added layer of protection, her phone provider also can provide you with the information you need to set up call blocking. Lastly could you put a reminder of some sort on the phone itself? Something like do not answer SPAM? Called it should be on the phone as well.
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worriedinCali Jan 9, 2020
The national do not call list is a joke, you know it doesn’t work right? It doesn’t stop scammers and telemarketers from calling.
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I use Ooma (Voice Over IP based phone service) to get around this problem with my husband with dementia. It has a built-in blacklist for scam numbers. Any number that’s not specifically white-listed goes directly to voicemail for me to deal with later. I even do it for numbers we do know (doctors, dentists, etc) because if he answers the phone, they will give him info (despite my repeatedly telling them NOT to talk to him) & then he will promptly forget what they said.
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worriedinCali Jan 9, 2020
You know this isn’t fool proof right? Scammers spoof numbers so their calls will always get through. All it takes is spoofing a white listed phone number.
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While some of the call filters help, calls still do come through (my phone is a cell.) With the filter, some calls ring, but get blocked (but still manage to sometimes go through to voicemail - what a pain!) Some show up as Potential Spam. Many still manage to get through - the system is not fool-proof. I have read others getting calls from their own phone #, mine showed up on the display as Voicemail - seriously, my voice mail is calling me???? I happened to move over the border to another state but kept my old #. This has been somewhat of a blessing, because the majority of junk calls come from area codes in the old state (the rest come from all over the states!) So far in 5+ years only maybe 2-3 calls came from my current area code. So, even when the # isn't programmed in my phone, generally I am "safe" in answering those calls!

With mom's hearing issues and memory issues, I think the easiest solution is to set up call forwarding and have ALL calls go to your phone. More than likely most, if not all, calls are crap. How often do her friends call? Does she initiate calls? She would still have a phone and could call her friends, if she is capable. If the friends happen to call and get you, explain the situation and then tell mom you ran into this person and they would like to chat - mom could call them. You could also warn them upfront, so they are aware.

I also agree with the suggestions to freeze credit. I did this years ago for a specific reason, but it is even better now that it is FREE. Because of the reason why I needed to do this (idiot at EC atty office sent my SS via email!), I have alerts on EVERYTHING! So far there has been no issue, but I plan to keep it as is! Most elders won't need to have their credit accessed for any reason, so freezing it would likely be a one-and-done. Taking a credit card away might be wise, providing them with a debit card that requires fill-up and is kept at a low balance. Taking SS card might work for some, but even with dementia, SS # is a long-term memory. Mom could still spew her # from memory despite dementia. Remember back in the day it was needed for just about anything you did? I even have my son's memorized because I had to use it every time I had to pay this tuition. It is nice that Medicare changed to a random number, removing it from access there, but the SS # is more important.

I would contact her phone service provider and ask for any call-blocking AND to have all calls forwarded to your phone (the blocking might reduce the number of calls you get!) Regardless of robo/spam calls being made "illegal", until they find a way to really stop it, it will continue!
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I would also monitor her credit/debit cards, checking/savings accounts. Maybe put a distance between her and her ability to provide financial information. If her memory is deteriorating, it may be time to have her cogniition be evaluated by a neuropsychologist,geriatric psychiatrist, or even her PCP. Hopefully, she has a DPOA so that her expenditures could be managed,
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