AARP offers tips to protect against ‘robocalls’

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTGOMERY – The Federal Communications Commission estimates that nearly 50 percent of the 48 billion robocalls in 2018 were illegal–and some predict the number of robocalls will continue to rise to 60 billion in 2019, leaving an increased chance for individuals to become victims of a scam.

The American Association of Retired Persons of Alabama has offered tips on how people can protect themselves and avoid being scammed as the number of robocalls is expected to increase.

The term “robocall” covers a wide array of calls, many of which are legal, such as school closing announcements and medical appointment reminders.

“Your dentist’s office can robocall you with an appointment reminder, or an airline with news about a flight change,” Interim Associate State Director of Communications for AARP Alabama Evey Owen said in a release. “Legal robocalls can be beneficial, but illegal robocalls can be frustrating and dangerous.”

Illegal robocalls are those from companies you have not authorized to contact you, as well as attempts at outright theft and scams. Recent examples include the social security scams, jury duty scams or health insurance scams.

Scammers often hide a call’s true origin through what’s called ‘spoofing’—that is, faking the number that appears in your caller ID to make it seem local. A recent survey by AARP found that U.S. adults are 59 percent more likely to answer a call seemingly from a local area code.

AARP Alabama offers these tips on how people can protect themselves and avoid being scammed:

–Screen incoming calls by letting them go to voicemail and never press a key or verbally respond to a command if you do pick up.

–Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry at Donotcall.gov or at 1-888-382-1222.

–Explore free or low-cost call blocking options that are compatible with your phone and your service provider.

–Report scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission at Ftccomplaintassistant.gov or your state attorney general.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts at aarp.org/FraudWatchNetwork or call the toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit Aarp.org/al or follow @AARPAL on social media.