Aging Well Partners
- Aug 06
- 3 min
May I Ask Who’s Calling?
Like millions of Americans, you likely get several calls every day attempting to sell you everything from an extended car warranty to new solar panels. These types of calls will likely increase around the Medicare Annual Enrollment period as various phone solicitors try to entice you into Medicare plans that may or may not suit your healthcare and financial needs.
Regardless of what they are trying to sell you, here are a few tips on how to discern the real from the fake, when to hang up, when to listen up, and when to just say ‘No”.
If you primarily use a cell phone, the caller ID feature has started to identify and alert you to “Potential Scam” calls. If your cell phone screen says, “Potential Scam” and you are not expecting a call, you may want to let that one go to voicemail. You can block these numbers but the companies behind the calls only find new computer-generated numbers to call from.
Let’s start with the National Do Not Call Registry under jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission. First, register your phone number(s) by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/. Here, you can report unwanted calls, verify your registration, and/or register your phone number. When you click in the “Register Your Phone” button, you will either verify if you have already registered a number or numbers or you can register your phone number(s) for the very first time. I was uncertain if I had registered mine, so I put in my phone number and email address. After a couple of minutes, I had an email confirming I registered my cell phone number back in 2019. But I still get those pesky “Potential Scam” calls…so what now?
I clicked the FAQs link on the donotcall.gov website and started doing some research. The Do Not Call Registry only works if the companies that want to call and sell you something play by the rules. Unfortunately, many companies and unscrupulous people do not play by these rules which is why you still get spam and scam calls on your cellphone and land line. I have a cell phone, so I started reading how to block these unwanted calls on a mobile phone. On my iPhone, I went to the App Store and searched for free call blocking apps. There are several apps out there and many of them are free of charge (which usually means you will see advertisements from time to time). I chose to download the app that was created by AT&T because that is my service provider and I figure they know best how to block calls coming through their network. Verizon, T-Mobile and the other big carriers have their own call blocking apps, so you have much to choose from. Once I opened the app, I followed the prompts to set up call blocking. I was given the choice of “Advanced Protection” for $3.99 per month or the “Basic Protection” for $0.00. I like the price of basic protection and until I see how this app works, I won’t be springing for the paid service just yet. In basic protection, I was able to block “Fraud Risk”, Spam Risk” and “Unknown Callers” – I chose the first two but will allow unknown callers to ring through given I am a business owner and never know where my next lead may be coming from. If you want further “bells and whistle” and the ability to block additional kinds of calls, you must pay the $3.99 per month subscription fee.
Bottom Line: If you don’t know the person on the other end of the phone and they are asking way too many questions about you, your health, and/or where you live, hang up. If you are not the hanging up kind of person, ask if you can call them back. If they won’t give you a number where you can reach them at another time, you are likely the target of scam.
Kie Copenhaver is a Certified Senior Advisor™ (CSA™), Gerontologist, and co-founder of Aging Well Partners. Kie has worked over 25 years in the healthcare and aging industries, advocating for patient’s rights and the ability to choose what’s best for them. She has taught at Mesa Community College in the Health Information Technology department and currently gives talks at Oasis Lifelong Learning geared towards planning ahead and aging well. When Kie isn’t working, you can find her doing yardwork and digging in her flower beds. Find Kie at www.agingwellpartners.com