The phone at my office rings. It is Mom’s neighbor, the one who looks in on her and who helps her with grocery shopping and the dog. She has never called me at my office before, so I know immediately that it is important, and I’m praying that it is not something awful.
She tells me Mom is okay and I’m breathing a little easier.
She begins to tell me about a series of phone calls Mom has received and then tells me that she is much more worried about Mom’s reaction to the phone call than the content of the phone call. She then puts Mom on the phone.
“Mom, who is calling you?”
“I’m not sure. But they said I won money and they were going to put it directly into my bank account.”
“Mom, it’s a scam.”
“Well, I thought it might be, but the girl was so insistent. When I told her I would call her back, she called me back. Over and over. She called me by my first name. She wouldn’t leave me alone because she said this money would certainly help me.”
By this time, I can hear a quiver in Mom’s voice. She was being badgered by this scam artist.
“How many times have they called you?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe ten times a day for the past three days.”
What ensued over the next two days were phone calls from my office to Mom’s phone carrier explaining what was happening. I did some online investigating and learned that this scam was not new, but that it also was not going to go away easily.
The phone company, in Mom’s case, Comcast, had several protective measures which were easy to put into place. I have listed both Comcast and Verizon contact information at the bottom of this blog entry for your use. Without any additional cost to Mom, we were able to place a restriction on Mom’s phone number that would keep her phone from accepting calls from any line which has an anonymous phone number. Some companies pay to have their phone number blocked or simply listed as “unknown” or “anonymous” on your caller ID when they phone. That way, you are more likely to answer the call. With this Comcast protective measure in place, those calls (which include the company who was bothering my mom) don’t even ring at your home. They are completely blocked.
We also used another free Comcast service whereby we intentionally blocked numbers which we know to be telemarketers.
Taking care of Mom means doing whatever is necessary, including helping her with the phone if she needs it. Hey – didn’t she help you learn how to use the phone (or ride a bike) when you were younger? It’s your turn. . .
Comcast Customer Security Assurance Number 888-565-4329
Comcast Legal Response Center 866-947-8572
Verizon Security and Unlawful Call Center 800-257-2969