Transaction Network Service, a company that supplies data and networking services to payment and financial organizations, has released a survey finding half of American seniors were targeted by roboscammers and scam calls last year.
According to their results, seniors are still a leading targeted group, with 53% of respondents reporting they believed they’d received a call with the intent to gain their personal information, and 47% confirming they were targeted by scammers.
Eighty-nine percent of these seniors also reported receiving at least one robocall per week. And 56% reported receiving as many as SEVEN calls every single week.
Through their survey, TNS concludes that 106 BILLION of these calls were made in 2019.
To make matters worse, they also found that despite a huge rise in medical and healthcare-related scam calls—those most likely to ensnare seniors—nearly a quarter of seniors surveyed weren’t provided any kind of education or literature by their healthcare providers about avoiding these calls. And two-thirds of seniors have no awareness about any programs made available by their phone carriers to intercept and block unsafe calls.
The Federal Trade Commission says it refunded $232 million last year to people who reported losing money to scam-calling creeps. Around 1.9 million people cashed those refund checks. That’s about $122 per person.
But these are just the victims whose scammers were reported and caught. The real number of victims and their financial losses is much, much higher.
The results of this survey has three vital takeaways for seniors:
- The scam call epidemic is only getting worse. And it’s extremely difficult to impossible to catch the people who do it. Follow our guidelines for protecting yourself and your personal information, and above all: do not pick up any number you don’t recognize.
- Reporting MATTERS. Reporting these suspected scam calls is the only way the government can hope to track these scammers down. Make sure you contact the FTC to report any suspicious calls or voicemails you may receive.
- Education is the key to protecting yourself and your loved ones. Ask your phone service provider if they have any tools available to help you prevent these kinds of calls from reaching your device. You may also be able to locate an app or third party service that will block these calls, too. In the case of medical scam calls, ask your primary care physician or health insurance provider if they have any information or guidelines for you regarding scam healthcare calls.