Have You Had Your Robocall Today?

photo of a man with white hair and beard with the palm of his hand on his forehead

From the desk of ADS Director Cathy Knight

Just about everyone I know has received many robocall scam messages—sometimes several per day. That situation has been really out of control. Thousands of older people fall victim to phone scams every day. Many of us know at least one person who has turned over large amounts of money to scammers—and chances are you know others but they’ve been too embarrassed to talk about it.

Fortunately, we have a local expert—AARP Washington state director Doug Shadel—who just happens to be AARP’s national expert on scams and fraud. This summer, we helped The Seattle Channel connect with Doug. They released a CityStream segment on robocalls that is very informative. I hope you will watch the short video called “Phone Fraud Protection.” This is full of information that can help you, as well as your family, friends, and neighbors—of all ages—and clients, understand how these calls happen and what they can do when they receive one (or many).

One easy-to-remember resource is the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline. You might consider putting their number (877-908-3360) in your phone in case you run across someone who needs it. Another resource is the Office of the Washington State Attorney General. It may interest you to know that Washington State AG Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against a Washington company for unlawful robocalls as recently as Sept. 24, 2019.

Remember, not every robocall is a scam. Some robocalls carry emergency information, and most of us get lots of robocalls during election season. While they can be annoying, those calls provide information only. The ones you must be vigilant in distrusting are calls asking for personal information and/or money. Just because the caller knows something about you doesn’t mean they are legit, as they say. (For example, your mother’s maiden name may very well be available online!) Please be aware, use caution, and verify independently whenever possible. And please tell you friends, family and clients, too!