It's difficult for seniors to keep up with the ever changing techniques of fraudsters, hucksters and scammers. In almost all cases they'll try to make you feel rushed, pressured, confused, vulnerable, unsafe or threatened.
Fortunately, there are actually 3 really easy techniques you can use that will shut scammers out. Stop the sales pitch before it begins, stop divulging personal information, and stop dealing with strangers or companies that reached out to you first. Here's how it works:
STOP the Sales Pitch Before it Starts
Once a skilled salesperson starts his or her pitch, they can play you like a fiddle. They have scripted responses to every objection, they know how to manipulate your emotions and how to confuse you into submission. Even if you think you're just engaging in casual conversation, they can use the information revealed to sell you later on. Seniors are especially vulnerable, because we're more likely to trust people as we age - just a fact.
So what's the answer? Don't let the pitch begin - say "no thank you, have a nice day" and walk away, close the door or hang-up.
STOP Providing Personal Information
Unless you initiated contact, never, ever divulge personal information to a stranger. Even if you get a call from the IRS, Medicare, the bank, credit card company, phone company or the pharmacy, no matter what they say, do not reveal any personal information. No name, age, whether you own the home or rent, account numbers, transportation methods, who else is home, occupation, passwords, social security numbers - absolutely nothing.
SO what's the solution? Let the person on the other end of the line know you will call them back, so as to verify their authenticity. If it really is the IRS or your bank, they will have no issue. Go online, get the number of the organization they claim to represent, and call them. At that point you can reveal your personal information, because you initiated the call through a legitimate phone number.
STOP Dealing with People who Approached you First
As hard as this may sound, don't deal with people who approached you first. It's just too hard to know who's honest or not. It's almost like opening your front door without seeing who's on the other side - it could be Goldilocks or the big, bad wolf.
SO what can you do? Simple. When you need a product or service, search online or ask friends and family for someone they'd recommend. Also, schedule appointments at a time that's convenient for you and maybe even have a family member who's gone through the experience be there with you.
The STOP Method
Don't deal with people you don't know. To avoid getting roped in, cut off the sales pitch early. And finally, never provide any personal information if you didn't initiate the call.
So the biggest issue here is avoiding people and situations that try to exploit seniors. The easiest way to do this is to hang-up on strangers, call back strangers that say they're calling from a company you trust and never provide personal information to strangers - ever.