I have previously written blogs about fraud and the elderly. (on my website Archive – Elder Fraud Protection)
Recently a post dropped into my box about a new company that actually is trying to combat those pesky telemarketing calls. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to telemarketing tactics, so I really took notice of how The Jolly Roger Telephone Company is managing to make telemarketers “walk the plank.”
The site for The Jolly Roger Telephone Company is www.jollyrogertelco.com. The company is the brain child of Roger Anderson, a telephone systems expert. Mr. Anderson’s ‘robots’ counter the incoming calls of telemarketers. With robots called Jolly Roger, Salty Sally, and Whiskey Jack, his strategy is to intercept the calls and then have the Jolly Roger bots ‘talk’ to the telemarketers…so you don’t have to.
The sophistication of telemarketers is increasing with the use of predictive dialers and ‘spoof’ local area codes. Mr. Anderson is using artificial intelligence to combat some of the worst abuses.
The puzzling and odd responses of his robots are amusing (the site offers a demo of some calls), but the reality of aggressive telemarketing and telephone fraud scams against seniors is not amusing.
There are seniors who have lost their savings, their credit card information and even their identity to online scams and fraud. And unscrupulous telemarketing calls can cause unsuspecting seniors to fall prey to a host of financial abuses.
According to an * article by Nick Bilton , “ Roger Anderson may not seem like a superhero. But to many, he has become one… For Mr. Anderson, this service isn’t just about wasting the time of people who want to waste our time. He sees his service as a way to help ordinary people, especially older Americans, from being defrauded.”
* A Robot That Has Fun at Telemarketers’ Expense, Feb. 24, 2016 by Nick Bilton. The New York Times, Fashion and Style, Disruptions. – A weekly column by Nick Bilton exploring how technology is shaping our lives.
Why might some elderly be more prone to scams and fraud? One reason could lie deep with the human brain – an area called the anterior insula.
Why Older Adults are So Susceptible to Financial Fraud by Olivia DaDalt (Next Avenue Contributor).
According to the article, research showed that older participants of a study showed less activation of the anterior insula, a part of the brain known to support ineroceptive awareness, or what is commonly called a “gut feeling”. Thus, an older adult may not get a ‘gut feeling’ that warns them of an untrustworthy person, thus making them more vulnerable to the risk of scams.
Also, the MIT AgeLab Website has more tips and resources to help prevent seniors from falling victim to financial abuse. If you live near Cambridge you can even participate in studies by the MIT Age Lab. (www.agelab.mit.edu)
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