DEAR ABBY: Your recent piece on telephone scams aimed at seniors prompts me to share some ways of preventing being taken. After 34 years in enforcing consumer protection laws, now retired, I learned that there are two ways to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
First, never contribute to a "charitable" organization over the telephone, even if you are familiar with the name. Ask that the caller send you a written solicitation. If they have your telephone number, they also have your address. Callers who decline to send me a written solicitation or insist on a telephone pledge find themselves talking into a dead line because I hang up.
Second, never buy anything by telephone, unless you dial the call. Whenever I receive a telephone solicitation, I tell the caller that I NEVER buy anything over the telephone -- and I never contribute in response to a telephoned solicitation for ANY charity. -- ALBERT F. LIMBERG, CONCORD, CALIF.
DEAR MR. LIMBERG: Thank you for a valuable clarification. And in addition, if the "charity caller" says that he or she is phoning because it saves the charity postage costs -- ignore it, and get the request in writing.