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How can carriers protect seniors from scam calls?

The world’s leading carriers prioritize spam protection for their subscribers — especially vulnerable subscribers such as the elderly.

“I was talking to one of our call center agents and she was visibly emotionally affected by taking calls from elderly people who are scammed. We get 3,500 calls per week on this and we know many customers don’t report it,”  said Christian Thrane, security expert and managing director of the British Telecom (BT) consumer division. Thrane spoke during a panel interview hosted by Hiya at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the telecom industry’s largest and most important trade show. 

Thrane was one of four telecom experts on the panel discussion titled
Bring Trust Back to the Voice Call. Other panelists included Telia’s Head of Voice and Data Svante Andersson, Gabb Wireless Senior Vice President of Product Isaac Jacobson, and Hiya CEO and Founder Alex Algard. 

Thrane explained that BT’s subscriber base is a bit older than average, so BT puts extra effort into protecting them. 

“For us, it’s about being the best and most trusted network in the UK,” he said.

Targeting seniors

According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), older adults (those 60 and older) are not necessarily more likely to lose money to fraud, but when they do, they have higher monetary losses than younger adults (age 20-59). And those losses increase with age. 2022 statistics from the FTC show that the median amount lost by those 80 and over was $1,674 – three times higher than the amount for 20-29-year-olds.  

Hiya has written about a number of scams that specifically target older adults. There are Medicare scams where the caller seeks the victim’s Medicare number to falsely bill services, and Social Security scams that warn seniors that their benefits will end unless they pay a fee. Even worse are grandparent scams where a fraudster pretends to be a grandchild in trouble and needs money immediately to post bail or for legal services. 

RELATED – Senior Scam: Spoofing the Greatest Generation

How carriers can protect their elderly subscribers

One of the most important ways carriers can protect their subscribers is by finding a trusted partner that offers a robust call protection solution, such as Hiya Protect. Hiya Protect helps mobile network carriers protect their subscribers by blocking fraud calls and labeling spam calls. It goes beyond simply identifying spam-likely phone numbers; it uses a proprietary multi-layer approach that analyzes the phone number, call characteristics, the call recipient, and even the calling enterprise’s history across all numbers used. 

Carriers can also offer to their enterprise customers a branded caller ID product, such as Hiya Connect. Hiya Connect enables businesses to display their company name, logo and reason for the call on the recipient’s mobile phone, so customers can feel safe when they answer the phone. It also prevents imposters from spoofing businesses’ phone numbers, and offers a suite of analytics tools to help them optimize call delivery. 

Author Andrea Moreno

Carrier Customer Marketing Manager