Rampant Abuse of the Elderly
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Rampant Abuse of the Elderly

When one is 70 plus, even 65 plus, telephones become their enemy and a real and present danger. Home phones are by far worse than cell phone, but both are plagues and both threaten older people’s sense of self and their pocketbook.

We all have come to detest the many calls daily from telephone sales people. But, there is a major difference between the ones that annoy, even seriously anger most people, and the criminal and abusive calls made sometimes hourly to the homes and even cells of seniors. These are calls where seniors are coaxed to turn on computers only to have their hard drives wiped clean, or to send money to someone claiming to be a grandson who is abroad and lost, or to cover a serious bank account imbalance, etc. They come daily, sometimes hourly, and often have foreign sounding voices on the other end. The callers are not friendly, sometimes abusive. And, often they call over and over again in the course of a day, of a week.

If the elderly person is not sharp and quick witted, the chances of turning over their computer or giving away personal information, even bank account numbers, are very real. No less dangerous, these people are eager to send folks to their homes.

It is a national crisis and no one is doing anything about it. The telephone companies wash their hands because the calls, even with local IDs, are untraceable, and they claim there is nothing they can do.

The callers prey on the elderly in the most blatant ways, taking advantage of their age, loneliness and their slower faculties. It is a multi-billion dollar sham, and older Americans are the victims.

It’s time to hold the companies whose lines are being used accountable. There is no other way to stop this abuse.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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