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Telephone scams are one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on senior Americans today.  The advantages to the perpetrator are immense: You never see them, the caller is the one that is taking the action, they are often outside the jurisdiction of the local authorities, and most people don't question a telephone bill when it comes.  

Beyond that, the perpetrator doesn't have to soak anyone for a great deal of money.  They are content to bilk a large number of people for relatively small amounts of cash.

When you call a telephone number with a “900” area code, unlike an “800” number, you pay a fee for each minute you stay on the line. You may already have dialed a 1-900 number to participate in a survey or to obtain services such as an up-to-date weather report for another city. But you should be careful because not all 1-900 numbers offer legitimate telemarketing or information services. 

Some are operated by dishonest people who can make money by enticing you to call and remain on the telephone line as long as possible.

To avoid becoming a victim of such 1-900 number schemes…

  • … remember that there is always a fee associated with a 1-900 number. Do not dial it unless you are willing to pay and you know how much you will be charged per minute.

  • … be wary if you receive a notice that you’ve won a prize or can obtain an item by calling a 1-900 number.    

  • ... and be doubly suspicious if, after dialing the first 1-900 call you are not able to talk to a real person but hear a message telling you to call another 900 line.   

  • … ask your Better Business Bureau or a consumer protection agency  if they have heard of the company or promoter and if there have been complaints about it or its tactics.  

  • ... remain skeptical about the deals offered. If something sounds too good to be true, it may very well be a fraudulent money-making scheme.


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