Aggressive sales tactics used by unscrupulous telemarketers can snare seniors who don’t know any better. The aggression can quickly turn into harassment if the telemarketing company thinks it’s found an easy mark. Even if the senior is mentally sharp as a tack, the harassment can be distressing if they don’t know how to stop it.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) has strict guidelines that telemarketers have to follow. Obviously, scammers aren’t going to follow them, but the TCPA gives you a way to get back at the scammers.
If you realize that your elderly relative is being harassed and targeted by a telemarketer or ten, you need to act quickly to find out what stage the harassment is at. You also need to get those calls nixed immediately, and you’ll have to follow a few steps to do so.
Stop Answering the Calls
The first thing to do is get your relative to stop answering the calls. If they’ve already done that, great. But if you have a relative who has the mindset that phone calls should be answered and that letting a call go to voicemail would be rude, you’ll need to do some convincing.
Show that relative articles about telemarketing scams and the massive increase in scam calls over the past few years. Let the relative know that everyone is getting these calls and that it’s actually OK to not answer.
If the relative insists on answering, you’ll need to speak with a lawyer about what to do regarding taking control of the phone temporarily—or you’ll need to speak with a lawyer who can stop the calls before the relative gets into any more trouble.
By the way, if your older relatives are healthy, don’t assume nothing’s wrong. Check in with them and see if they’re having issues with telemarketers trying to get to them. It can be frustrating for people when they can’t get scam calls to stop, and it can even become scary if the telemarketers start using threats to get money.
Notify Local and Federal Government Resources About the Harassment
Next, notify government resources about the harassment. You can file reports with agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General for the District of Columbia if the relative lives in D.C., for example. The Department of Justice has an elder fraud reporting hotline, too.
You’ll need records of who is calling, when they’re calling, how often they’re calling, and if they’re calling your relative’s landline or cell phone. But even if you don’t have all that information, call these agencies to get advice on protecting the relative’s finances until the calls are stopped and you’re sure the telemarketers aren’t going to call again.
Work With a Lawyer to Stop the Calls and Possibly Sue the Telemarketers
Here’s where stopping the harassment really revs up. You need to contact a lawyer who deals with stopping unwanted calls and consider suing the companies that are harassing your relatives.
This is more than just a harassment case. The TCPA does allow you to sue companies that are violating the terms of the Act, although you’ll need very good evidence of violations. An attorney can help you put everything together and get the telemarketers to leave your relative alone, one way or another.
If you’re faced with this situation, contact the Heidarpour Law Firm for help right from the start. The moment you find out this abuse and harassment are going on, you need to get legal help to protect your relative. Don’t assume the telemarketers will eventually go away. Let your relative have peace of mind quickly by contacting a lawyer.