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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Senior Voices – From pencils and pens to scams and cell phones


I recently attended a Senior Expo at the Sheraton Hotel and it was, as always, very worthwhile. If you ever need more pencils or pens, this show is the place to go. There were lots of interesting venders. The attendance was not as much as usual, but still enough to make it, hopefully, worth the time for the venders.

There were three interesting lectures and I attended the one put on by the Office of the Attorney General on Fraud. It’s amazing that so many, especially seniors, are still falling for scams.

I was totally impressed by the literature available from the OAG on the many services available to help us. Visit www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov. At the bottom of the page, click on Publications and Brochures. The top five scams are: Imposter Scams, Telephone/Online Marketing Scams, Home Repair Scams, Charity Scams, Health Care Scams. They have a flyer on “Tips to Prevent Consumer Fraud.”

I picked up quite a lot of useful information. Did you know that before donating anything you can check the OAG list of registered charities? It tells you what percentage of funds raised actually goes to the cause and their current financial statement. You can get this information at their online database at www.charitableviewer.ilattorneygeneral.net.

You can still register for “do not call” at www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx. And if you have already signed up, no need to enroll again as your registration will not expire. Under federal and state law, a number of businesses or organizations still can legally call. There is no way they can stop charities or political calls. At this campaign time of the year, that is a pain. And that still does not stop the robo calls. That problem is being worked on, but very complicated and not finished.

The agent said if you don’t recognize the call, just don’t answer. I know I don’t answer and if they really want me, they can leave a message on my answering machine. I can’t believe all the info on how to block calls on your phone and even your cell phone. For this info, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-block-unwanted-calls. I plan to do this.

I recently I paid a $500 “deposit” at a hearing aid store to try out hearing aids which they didn’t refund. I plan to file a complaint. But one lady in class told me how she would have handled this, or any other incidents where she feels she is being unfairly treated. She said I should have said, “If you don’t refund my money now, as soon as I get home, I’m calling the Office of the Attorney General. She said that is the last thing they want to hear. And they will most likely quickly return your deposit. I wish I’d have thought of that at the time. Now I am going to file my complaint.

A form is online with instructions. You submit it, they read it, and they decide to which of the many fraud divisions to direct your complaint. I hope to help prevent this from happening to other seniors.

If you are not computer savvy to retrieve this information, they have a phone number (1-800-386-5438) to the Chicago office. And they welcome your phone calls. Do not hesitate to call them.

Chuckle Time: People are prisoners of their phones. That is why they are called cell phones.

Bev Patterson Frier
Bev Patterson Frierhttp://napervill.il.us
Bev Patterson Frier was co-founder of the Senior Task Force with Karen Courney. Their efforts led to RAN, Ride Assist Naperville. Bev hails from Anderson, Ind., but the dedicated arts enthusiast boasts that Naperville is her family.