DELRAY BEACH, Florida — Fight Ageism launched in the summer of 2013 with a common goal: to show the world that seniors are cool, and to give seniors the tools to prove it.
Since last summer, we’ve introduced you to some very cool seniors like Ida and Palma at the Boynton Beach Senior Center. They get out every day to—just like everyone else—meet up and hang out with friends. They’re on Facebook. They’re staying social and they’re great people.
Sure, they might not be listening to the latest Jay-Z album, but aren’t you the one with your grandmother’s record player in your apartment?
Yea. We thought so.
Since last summer, we’ve introduced you to Zvi, A World War II veteran who was marched into Berlin.
But Since last summer, Fight Ageism has gone quiet.
We took some time to recalculate our goals. Yes, we are still showing the world that seniors are cool; but what about giving them the tools to stay that way?
Those tools are important too.
We can tell you about Ida and Palma and Zvi. We can have our 20-something year old staff challenge a 92-year old woman to a dance contest and lose (which tends to happen when you’ve unknowingly started a dance off with a Rockette). But what good are those things if we are not giving the people with those stories some information they can really use?
That’s why Fight Ageism has come back. We’ve come back to show you that seniors are cool, and we’ve come back to give them helpful tips to stay that way.
Those tips start now, and they start with something seniors are very familiar with—robocalls.
A younger generation will know these as telemarketing. At best, telemarketing is annoying. At worst, it can be predatory. Malicious telemarketing always has the same goal: to acquire your personal and financial information.
And that’s the issue facing people like Ida, Palma and Zvi today.
It’s the same issue that could be threatening your own grandparents.
Predatory telemarketing hits seniors hard for a number of reasons. Partly, this is because seniors are more apt to still use landline phones that may or may not have a caller ID system.
By the way, those land line phones come in pretty handy when your cell phone battery runs out.
Additionally, many people are simply unaware of how to identify a predatory call.
Seniors often answer calls from an automated service that’s sending out thousands of identical calls per minute. Most often, a robocall begins with a recorded message—this is your first indication to hang up.
Seniors: if you answer a robocall and hear an automated message, do not press any buttons. According to the FCC, doing so could leave you more vulnerable to repeat calls from the same company.
The FCC also says that robocalls have some other tell-tale warning signs. They’re usually selling financial services, free vacations or medical alert devices. Remember, they always want your personal financial information.
So how can you prevent robocalls?
The first step is to make sure you’re on the National Do Not Call List. You can check that by calling 888-382-1222 or visiting donotcall.gov. That won’t prevent illegal calls, but it is a good place to start.
The next step?
Report suspicious calls to the Federal Trade Commission at 888-382-1222 or ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
If you keep those steps in mind and know what to look out for during suspicious calls, you’ll be well on your way to the first set of tools in the Fight Ageism toolkit.