Follow
Share

Telemarketer continues to call my 84-year-old mother saying she will lose benefits because claims have been made against her.


If she will provide her social security number they will stop the fraud. I have her social security card but she has her Medicare card with social security number.


She's not herself today, having lost HVAC a couple of days ago and stressed from no heat etc. I'm afraid she may have given them her social security number today.


Is there anything I can do? I'm so concerned about stolen identity, social security fraud and more.

Yes, IMMEDIATELY REPORT ALL DETAILS TO THE LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION....This will protect her and they will investigate. DO NOT EVER GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THE PHONE. Get those cards and numbers away from her. Also, call Medicare at once. And if you talk to the scammer, tell them your attorney is handling everything and the police have been notified as well. That might help not getting the calls.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Lockett2166
Report

Marshcath,

Maybe it would be helpful if we all knew whether or not Mom lives with you!

If you're not there with her, that may change the responses you're getting.

Hang in there!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to xrayjodib
Report

The best thing to do is not answer the phone. Let it go to voicemail.

It’s robocalls, once you pick up they know that they have a live line and continue to call.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

This the season and it’s been a tough year. Scammers are feeling the pinch like everyone else. I wonder if they put as much effort into legal work as they do scamming if they wouldn’t get ahead. Anyway, the S.S. Calls and the IRS one about a sheriff being on the way to arrest you are the most terrifying for most people. A friend’s dad fell for the IRS one. Without telling my friend he went out and bought $2,000. worth of Best Buy gift cards, came home, called back as he had been directed, and read the PIN numbers to them, then told my friend who called Best Buy immediately but the scammers had already used the cards on computers.
Another fun one is the “granny call”. I’ve gotten several and if I have time I lead them on. Best way is if you get one ask immediately if it’s Joe or Mike or any name that isn’t one of your grandkids. If they say it is, let them tell their silly story, helping them with details if they need it. When you get tired of it, break the news to them that you don’t have a Joe or Mike, but be prepared because they’ll be real pissed off and call you names. Also beware the Microsoft account, automobile warranty and any calls asking for personal details. If your folks have email, Yikes! The scammers are going nuts there. The biggest is a “receipt for an online purchase” usually for $100. or so. The receipt says if you wish to cancel follow the submit button where you can unwittingly give them all the info they need. This is also being used fraudulently for your bank, Amazon, Apple.
Keep up with this stuff, read AARP fraud alerts, and remember, 'tis the season.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BarbChicago
Report

I use a line to answer unknown numbers and I get hung up on all the time. Maybe you can get your mom to use it and get hung up on too.

Ring...

Answer....Caller, you're on the air! What's your name please?

Click...

Yahoo, works every time. 👋👋👋👏👏👏
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

Marshcath: Medicare cards were changed in 2018 to no longer have the individual's social security number. They now contain letters and numbers. If this is not the case for your mother's Medicare card, you should investigate and have the correction made.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Call SS to ask them for her new card. They issued new cards with a new number without the ssn on it any longer. By now one of your medical providers should have been asking you for the new card.

See if you can get her to ask for a return phone number when people call about Medicare or other private info. May or may not work if they sound believable to her. I hate those callers, too. Someone in the big scheme of things should be able to figure out how to id the real phone number of where the calls come from. And the US should not be leasing/renting/etc phone lines in the US to anyone outside our country without a LOT of credentials to prove who they are. -- There was a guy on the news who spends all his spare time talking to scammers and getting into their phone systems/computers and wiping off their files. I say kudos to him!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to my2cents
Report

I hate the robo text messages! I never click on links, ever!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

Your mom’s Medicare card should not have her SSN on it. New cards were issued to everyone with a number that is not the SSN. Doctors should not accept the card with the SSN. If you did receive the new card, contact social security.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MarieAR
Report

Well, this is what I would do. I'd get someone I truly trusted and have her call as if she were Social Security and tell your Mom that they have become aware that a scammer has been attempting to orchestrate a scam on her, and that she is advised not to reveal her Social Security number to anyone who calls to ask for it.
That her Social Security number should never be given to anyone who calls her. Only ever share it if SHE HERSELF has initiated the call and therefore knows who she's dealing with.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to acacia
Report
AlvaDeer Dec 6, 2020
I kind of LIKE this idea!
(2)
Report
THIS IS SCAM! SCAM! SCAMMY SCAM!
Don't worry, these calls come from India (often from Mumbai) and they have no merit other than try to give them information and money usually by buying a gift cards and giving them the gift card number.

DO NOT ENGAGE with these con artists, do not "confirm" your address or social security number or any other sensitive information.
I have several calls a month from "IRS", from "Social Security Administration" or from "Computer Repair", from "Medicare" etc.
The calls vary from solicitous to threatening. "You committed tax fraud! We will send police after you!" Yeah! Right!

I am sure you have more pressing problems in your life than to deal with fake calls.

Just remember - government agencies like SSA, IRS, Medicare will NEVER EVER call you if there is a problem. They will send you a letter if they need something from you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to AlexDanilov
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Dec 6, 2020
If I am bored or feel like having fun, when they tell me that an FBI agent will be knocking on my door, I tell them to send them over and I will put on a pot of coffee.

I hear an immediate click on the phone! Hahaha 🤣
(5)
Report
See 2 more replies
Would writing a note on/near the phone help? Also, having a conversation with Mom regarding the fraud.
Good luck. It's so terrible that there are such dishonest people in the world!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Chickie1
Report

A man with an exceptionally heavy Indian accent and with a great deal of crowded phone bank noise in the background called my parent's home to say he was from Medicare and there were new cards being issued that contained gold chips in them that were GPS monitoring devices. As I quickly researched this particular scam online, I asked how was I supposed to know that he was actually from Medicare? He got angry and tried to bully me into believing him. Wow. I told him I had captured his number and would be reporting it to the FCC and FBI fraud departments. Both have websites for this purpose . Then he hung up in disgust. It just never ends. The greed, corruption and lack of integrity.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to covidfornow
Report

Marshcath,

There used to be a function on a landline that would trace the call and log it with the phone provider.
I have no idea if it still exists. And you would have to do it right after the call. It was something like *68.

Not sure what your Moms mental status is. That might be too complicated.

Maybe a big visual aide near her phone reminding her to "NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR SSN "!

If it's financially possible, enroll her in an identity theft program such as Life Lock. They'll notify you if there is any suspicious activity!

This is a tough one!!
Best wishes!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to xrayjodib
Report
disgustedtoo Dec 6, 2020
Even better is to freeze her credit at all 3 bureaus. She should really have no need for credit, not likely to be applying for a job or renting.

Several times when something was breached, I was automatically set up with one of these "monitoring" programs. What a joke. I personally wouldn't waste my money on them! One of my credit cards tried to intervene by requesting confirmation of certain purchases - that didn't last long, it was just a huge PITA! Another credit card flagged some very small purchases in a local drug store that I didn't generally use, but never looked twice at a very large purchase, from a place that I didn't buy from before!

Freezing credit is now free, but must be done at all 3 bureaus (a fraud alert reported to one will be shared with the other 2, but not freezing.) I had good reason to do this and except for a couple of times I needed to unfreeze it, the freeze has been about 5 years now and will remain frozen!
(0)
Report
Before hiding everything with your parents social on it. (Which is a waste of time for some) My dad 97 knows his social security number by heart. I am 67 ex military wife of the 70’s. I can recite my social, my ex’s social and my dads social at any time. We used to have to give social security numbers for every transaction on post. They get imbedded in your brain. So before you hide these documents ask your parent what their social security number is. You may be surprised to know they know it.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to KaleyBug
Report
AlvaDeer Dec 6, 2020
Isn't THAT the truth. It is a number that lives in our brains, so often have we had to use it, and I imagine will be there forever. It is like they say, when the world is over there will be cockroaches and the IRS still there. I suspect when all else is washed our of our minds, there will sit that SS number!
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
So many of the numbers showing on my Caller ID are local people or companies that most likely would have NO reason to call me so I know that the call is false. I rarely pick up the phone until AFTER the answering machine-that way I know who is calling before I talk to them. A family friend allows the answering machine to answer ALL her phone calls. And then, if the person calling is someone that she wants to talk to, she will call them back

Sometimes, if I pick up the phone before the answering machine does, then (like Cascai), I will have fun with these robocallers---
Anyone remember Carol Burnett's character who would yell "GGEEOORRGGEE" in a grating voice and dress in the most mismatched bathrode or dress. Poor Harvey Korman usually played her husband.
When someone calls I talk in that grating voice and complain about all sorts of things about my (fake) husband and yell for my husband to talk to this person. Or I repeat what the caller says as if I don't understand what they are talking about. Or I act as if the person calling is a good friend and gossip with the caller about nonsensical or untrue topics.

While Mom was alive and living with me, she would sit in the background trying not to laugh during my role-playing on the phone.

Unfortunately these types of calls are now a part of our life and we have to be smarter than they are. ☏
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to DeeAnna
Report
disgustedtoo Dec 6, 2020
"So many of the numbers showing on my Caller ID are local people or companies..."
The name of this game is spoofing. More often than not, the number that shows up in Caller ID isn't even where these jerks are calling from. They can use numbers that might be similar to your own show up on your phone, hoping that you think it might be someone you know. Those of us who know this goes on generally aren't fooled, but many older people don't know and get scammed.

I've read this is what they do, and can attest to this. When I moved, I didn't change my number (crossed state lines, cell phone only.) At least 98% (could be more) of the unwanted calls come from the state I used to live in, many with the same area code and exchange (1st 6 digits.) A few calls are "toll free" numbers and others come from states all over the map (some even with bizarre, non-phone numbers!) I don't answer any calls that are either 1) not programmed with a name in my phone or 2) are in my new area code. I do have to take those calls because it could be for my mother, who I moved to a place nearby or someone I do business with, but don't have all their numbers yet. Fortunately the idiot scammers haven't figured it out yet that I no longer live in that other state!

The good news is the actions the providers had to take have reduced the number of calls that get through to voicemail. The bad news is some still slip through. I do try to report those that are clearly scams targeting elders, such as Medicare, SS, IRS - it's great when they provide a recorded call back number!
(1)
Report
Definitely reach out to Better Business Bureau and register numbers they’re call in from.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to vmetoyer
Report
worriedinCali Dec 6, 2020
Why the BBB? They are a private business, they cannot do anything. They are YELP before we had the internet.....BBB is a waste of time. And these scammers don’t disclose the actual
number they are calling from, they spoof legitimate numbers
(2)
Report
We tend to think even as non elderly people that if the phone rings you answer it. We are training ourselves in this new world of scammers to not answer every call. This stuff happens to all ages now. It's doubly difficult as an elderly person with dementia. If your situation is such that you can go into her phone account you can set it up so the phone does not ring when calls come in. I have done this for my landline but I can keep the landline to make calls out. I can always look at caller ID later so I control who I talk to. I love it! No more scammers to deal with. Important people like family, friends and doctors have my cell phone number. Having a cell phone doesn't stop them either though. Is there a list of phone numbers she is ok to answer - perhaps list those for her and see if she will use caller ID to only answer those. You can set up particular ringtones for each # that she is ok to answer. I took a different approach with my mom and worked on her behavior. I did a bulletin that I kept by my mom's landline phone which stated in all caps and bold letters not to answer calls or speak to anyone other than me and one other family member who worked with me to reinforce the message. I explained what happens now with calls. I kept reinforcing that with her because she resisted in the beginning. I would ask her if she trusted me. Build her trust. You are fighting these creeps through her who are working on her behavior and trust to get her information. Fight fire with fire. My mom stopped answering the calls. Set up an account online with Social Security (everyone should do regardless of age) so it prevents scammers from doing it and getting the checks. Social Security told me that. The legal route is advised 100% yet in my experience of witnessing other families go that route to see nothing happen or change on their end and in the meantime they have convinced the victim they are on their side. We as family members are the best defense in my humble opinion. I would advise to work with her bank/financial folks too to see what they can do if anything in case they try to get that info. Do you have POA? Best wishes to you and yours.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Sunshine27
Report
disgustedtoo Dec 6, 2020
"We tend to think even as non elderly people that if the phone rings you answer it."

Not sure what qualifies for non elderly (sadly I'm likely considered elderly at this point!) but once caller ID came along, nope, I wouldn't answer any that didn't appear to be known by me! Spoofing has caused issues with being able to weed those out, but since all I have is a cell phone, basically any call with a number not showing up with a name I programmed into my phone gets dismissed! Once in a great while it is legit, but they leave a message and I can return the call.

Rather than automatically answering, I get annoyed when it rings! I have to dig it out of my pocket and dismiss it. A few get through to voicemail, so I have to check that and delete it. Most of the calls are crap, only a few need attention, mom, vet and mechanic. Everyone else, you better be in my contact list! My kids usually use some kind of text messaging, so my phone can stay quiet for a long time, until one of these stupid robo-calls come in. UGH!
(0)
Report
Nomorobo phone app 1.99 a month gets rif of all telemarketers maybe i get 1 that creeps in every 5 days
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to mommynightmare
Report

and to anyone else reading these,,,,,,they are called spoofing when they use someone else's number but calling from somewhere else.  so most times it is pointless to call them back on the number shown because it won't be who called you.  yeah reporting to FCC is a joke unless you want to "pay" for a "formal" complaint and then you will still wait for months.  I know.....I worked for them..........so it is a pain in the butt.  We quit answering the phone unless we absolutely know who it is.  good luck to all on these type of calls.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to wolflover451
Report

well first report to social security.  And you know that SS will NEVER call you......they are scams.  Take anything in the house that has your mothers SS # on it so she can't mistakenly give it out again.  I am sure there is someone else to call but right now I can't think of who it is, but I am sure someone else on here can enlighten you.  wishing you luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wolflover451
Report
disgustedtoo Dec 6, 2020
Problem is SS# was used for so many other things that most of us know the number by heart! So, hiding any papers with the number won't help. Long term memory sticks around even for those with dementia.

The best things one can do is:
1) freeze the credit at all 3 credit bureaus. It IS free now!
2) if possible, work with any existing credit card companies to lower the limit on the card, stop the automatic increases they do and set up alerts to your number, so you can know when it is used.

#1 won't help with existing credit, but it WILL prevent any usage of the SS# to open new accounts, rent, get a job. So, #2 is a necessity to stay on top of, if the SS# was given out.

Sadly, too many "elder" would just automatically respond when asked for information like SS#, or can be more easily duped.

The latest changes they made has helped reduce some calls and many voice messages. Basically I don't answer my phone if you aren't in my contact list! I was already aware of the spoofing, but see it in action. When I moved to another state, I kept my #. Many (not all) use the area code and exchange similar to mine, many more at least appear to be from my former state. The rest (few) come from all over the states and "toll free" numbers. I don't answer ANY that are not programmed in! The annoyance is that they ring through at all AND some leave msgs, mostly cut off as they are recorded. It requires me digging the phone out, dismissing the call and dialing in to confirm the msg is crap (99.9%) and deleting it.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
These telemarketers should be smacked with a dead fish! I HATE the endless loop of calls we get on the landline and dang it, now I'm getting them on my cell phone, which I use only for communication with my kiddoes.

I was at my mom's one day when she got one--her car warranty had expired (!) and this forceful guy was just wringing her dry, she was crying over it, thinking her 20 yo car was not protected. Somehow he'd made her think she was going to get arrested!

I took the phone, chewed him out, royally and told him to remove her number from the list---but we all know that's pointless.

I will sometimes take a call and lead the person on--last week when one guy thought he had gotten some serious info from me (all lies) he finally said "Now, we just need your social security number, dear" And I answered "5". He waits, and waits and says, "no, there's a few more numbers" and I said ". No, it's 5". He blew up at me for wasting 20 minutes of his day. laughed and said "Dude, YOU called ME".

DH and I can easily avoid these calls, but mother cannot. Finally we told her to quit answering her phone unless it was a number she absolutely recognized. That helped, but I don't know how much money she'd given away in the past.

If your LO can read the incoming number, one tipoff is that they usually use ENTIRE CITIES as the place of origin. I will see the incoming call and yell to DH--'hey, Portland Oregon is calling us!!"
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Midkid58
Report
jacobsonbob Dec 6, 2020
Midkid58, you did a great job with that guy with your SS# of "5"! I think if I get such a call, I'll give a number including a couple letters and punctuation, and tell the caller this makes it more "secure"!
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
I would be careful of answering the phone, however. I got a call from someone who said "this is your power company calling and we are going to shut off your power." To my mind, if the power company really were calling, they would state the NAME of the company, and ask for the head of household by name. I was angry, so I called back and told the person off for frightening people. I said, "you don't even know my name." Then he started reading off my name and phone number. I was stupid to call back on my own line. I don't know what his scam was, but I put myself in his crosshairs.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Chlokara
Report

Can you get it when she naos? Turn the phone down so she can't hear them call. Block the number but that will only work temporarily. Turn phone off. Disconnect phone till you can get a handle on things. They will call from 4am till 12 at night to get the information.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Jasmina
Report

I sometimes answer them and lead them on for entertainment, I give them nonsensical answers- I've been cursed out more than a few times ....during the election I asked one who they voted for- ma'am I voted for the one that won. Who won ? - he then hung up on me. My dad has been very ill and I spend a lot of time at their house - it's almost a game for me now- they are on do not call but daily the call come in - lots of them - I tell them its illegal and take me off the list nothing works really but hanging up. I go into their account and regular block numbers but to no avail. My mom has called me in a panic that social security is calling her, a few years ago my dad was upset that the FBI had called him because his car was used to run drugs to Mexico - it's criminal really that this is allowed.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Cascia
Report
jacobsonbob Dec 6, 2020
Cascai, I loved reading what you said about "leading them on for entertainment". My favorite one is "sure, I'd happy to buy it, my credit card number is 435..<CLICK>" [when I hang up after giving a few digits].

I had a cousin who was being pestered by a salesman for aluminum siding, time and time again, so finally he took him up on his offer to come over and give an estimate. After the salesman was there a while, he asked "Now, where is it that you work?" and then my cousin (who was actually on disability) just answered "Oh, I don't work" so the salesman packed up quickly and left, and never bothered him again!

Then there are those who pester you because they want you to take out a loan from them, and want you to call them to tell them "if you need a loan". So some years ago when I had time to kill while waiting in an airport, I went to the pay phone to call their 800 number, and tell them that I'm simply answering their request to tell them if I need a loan, and my answer is that I DON'T need a loan. At another time I led one of them on with a gullible-sounding "wow, do you mean I can get a loan and pay nothing on it for 6 months [or whatever]?" and keep them on a few minutes...only to tell them I don't really need a loan. When asked why I called them, I either tell them they called me first, and it would be "impolite" not to call them back, or I say I simply had time to kill, and thought it would funny to waste theirs, too!

I've never received an IRS of SS scammer call, but I'm looking forward to it!
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
You should have her SS automatically going into her Bank instead of being mailed if you don't already.

Explain to your mom to direct all phone calls of this kind to you.

Tell her to only give out your name and phone #.

Set up the phone for no soliciting calls of any kind.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

The new Medicare cards do not have her social security number on them. Ask Medicare for a replacement card. Register her phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry https://www.donotcall.gov/. This won't completely stop the calls but does help a bit. You can also put a freeze on her credit account (with the credit card agencies like Experian) or a credit watch so that nobody can open a new account with her information. It makes things more difficult when you do have to open a new account, but may be worth it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NYCdaughter
Report

Block the number as well.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Shane1124
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Dec 6, 2020
They call back with new numbers. I have so many blocked numbers in my phone.
(3)
Report
Freeze her credit, my dad was constantly falling prey to the spammers that change your electric service and I was constantly changing it back, I finally got them to realize that they are all trying to steal stuff from them and to not pick up or to hang up- some still get through.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Cascia
Report
disgustedtoo Dec 6, 2020
"Freeze her credit"

That's what I've been saying! Even if they get the SS#, with frozen credit they really can't use it. They CAN still cause problems with existing accounts, but it should even help with the above scenario of changing electric companies, as most want to run your credit. They hit a freeze, they can't check it and it should stop that nonsense!
(0)
Report
If you haven’t already you need to freeze her credit reports at all 4 agencies so no one can take a loan in her name. Create an a count at the IRS and create an account at social security all in the effort so it makes it harder for someone to use her identity. And why does she have the old Medicare card??
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Harpcat
Report
Jasmina Dec 6, 2020
How do you create an account at soc security?
(0)
Report
See 2 more replies
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter