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Steady stream of unwanted calls to landline phones a concern for some families

Colorado AARP experts say it's worth asking if safer options are available
Steady stream of unwanted calls to landline phones a concern for some families
Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 30, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Do you still use a landline phone? More and more people are hanging up on landlines because of the high volume of unwanted calls that come through every day.

Recent surveys show when you pick up a call on a landline phone odds are the person calling you is looking to steal your money, information, or to sell you something. The other times it’s not a person at all, but a robocall. It’s why Colorado AARP and ElderWatch experts say it’s worth taking a closer look at the phone you use.

In the last few years we’ve seen it happen time and time again in southern Colorado, fraudsters connecting with their victims through calls on landline phones.

In 2018 we spoke with Kathy Moore who lost hundreds of dollars to an imposter who called her home phone pretending to be with Wells Fargo.

”I really did think she was Wells Fargo. She uses the right terminology, she was trying to give me tips to make sure my card wasn’t used fraudulently again," said Moore.

In 2019 News5 spoke with Ralph Petersonwho ran into his own set of problems with someone calling his landline phone.

“I would say most the calls we get are robocalls of some sort,” said Peterson.

He says he constantly gets robocalls about problems with his computer and he admits he did something consumer experts say you should never do, he granted the caller remote access to his computer.

“So I went ahead and made arrangements for him to do that, but he didn’t do anything and the $200 went away and the computer stayed the same,” said Peterson.

It turns out the phone number used to call him was flagged as a scam call more than 600 times in one day.

A couple of years later, Susan contacted News5 about more deception from people calling her landline.

"Somebody is spoofing those numbers and then trying to sell you solar panels for your roof, or get you to give information, personal information,” said Susan.

News5 spoke with Program Manager for Colorado’s AARP and ElderWatch Mark Fetterhoff about the experiences of these viewers.

”We were just talking about this. If you get 10 phone calls a day there’s a good chance that 8 of them are from someone you don’t want to hear from,” said Fetterhoff.

He says it’s an ongoing problem that has many families looking to switch up the phones they use at home.

”People realize that a lot of the calls that are coming into their landline phones are often times a scam and so that’s very frustrating and that’s caused a lot of older of adults to look at different technologies and digital phones and digital technologies as opposed to the landline phone as a way of alleviating some of those nonsense scam calls nobody wants to deal with,” said Fetterhoff.

Fraudsters are known to take notes on what phone numbers work and if they call the kind of response they get from the person answering the call. So, just picking up a call could open someone up to more problematic calls later on.

”Your number is even more valuable to that scammer at that time. They might sell it to other scammers at that time too saying this person will engage with you and they engage every time the phone rings,” said Fetterhoff.

If you’re concerned about this, Fetterhoff says the best thing you or your family member can do is explore new phone options and protections.

”Cell phone providers and other phone companies offer a digital landline service which feels like a traditional landline but it’s coming through a digital mechanism which has more protections and the ability to put protections in place to warn people and block some of those scam calls that are coming through,” said Fetterhoff.

Here are some resources to help you take a closer look at your situation:

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2020/get-rid-of-landline.html

https://joinimp.com/blogs/news/landline-landscape-2022-q-3-report

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