Stop calling me!

Charles of Grand Haven asked, "I get recorded phone calls saying, 'This is a very important message. Currently, there are no problems. If you are a senior citizen ..." How can I make these calls stop?"
Mark Brooky
Apr 17, 2013

 

ANSWER:

Unwanted or unsolicited calls to homes or cellphones are generally on the increase, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

"When it comes to older adults, several themes seem to be arising with these calls," said Brigit Hassig, director of Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging (the former North Ottawa County Council on Aging).

With the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act and subsequent changes, older adults are receiving calls that they need to confirm their health care coverage or risk losing it, are in need of new Medicare cards, or are asked to confirm billing to Medicare of services and medical equipment that have not been ordered. 

"In virtually all these cases (scams), the older adult has received the call unsolicited and is asked to confirm or provide personal information," Hassig said. "Callers should never provide or confirm any personal information to these calls and ask the caller to not contact them again. Our agency rule is — if you didn’t ask for the call with these issues, do not take it."

Older adults have several options to stop or report unwanted calls:

(1) They may register their residential telephone number, including wireless numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call registry by telephone or by Internet at no cost. Consumers can register online for the national registry by going to www.donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 888-382-1222 (for TTY, call 866-290-4236). You must call from the phone number you want registered.

(2) If it's regarding health insurance or prescription coverage issues, consumers may call Michigan’s Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program at 800-803-7174 or the Four Pointes Tri-County MMAP Fraud Prevention staff at 616-842-9210 and discuss their concerns.

(3) Older adults can also report aggressive or questionable calls to the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 877-765-8388.

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Comments

Mark Brooky

After this Mailbag was posted, I received this e-mail from Eric Monsma, senior paralegal for the Finn Law Group in Marne, with additional helpful information:

Mr. Brooky, your recent article titled “Stop calling me!” caught my attention, and I appreciate how you provided the donotcall.gov info to readers. To take that one step further, in case you care to share this with readers, people can opt out of receiving junk mail (and pick up 7-10 points on their credit scores as well, believe it or not) by registering at www.optoutprescreen.com. This removes you from lists sold by the credit bureaus for solicitation purposes. Because you are being solicited less, technically you are slightly less likely to apply for some promotional credit item — hence the small increase in scores. Opting yourself out electronically for five years takes mere moments at that site, and I think it’s a good idea for almost anyone. By the way, I personally receive almost zero “junk mail."  

www.finnlawgroup.com

retired DOC

I have tried reporting these types of calls to the federal do not call list. The people there told me they knew about the callers but can do little as the callers just get a new number and keep calling. They even use false caller ID information. End results is the federal do not call list is just another waste of taxpayers' money.

LBG53

I agree. We have been on the donotcall list for many years and still get multiple calls. I have even blocked one number and they are still able to call. There are certain groups who do not fall under the category of not being able to call you. I am just thankful for caller ID.

 

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