Aggressive Tactics on the Rise for Telemarketers

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LINCOLN, Ne-- If it wasn't for the granddaughter of Margaret Brandenburgh, the 100-year-old likely would have been drained for as many pennies as telemarketer's could have got from her.

"Problem is I'm here 24/7," said Kim Holland. "And it's very seldom anybody else is in the house with grandma besides me."

In her old age, Brandenburgh's hearing has faded, and movement slowed. But instead of moving her into an elderly home, Holland moved in with her grandmother four years ago.

Since then Holland has helped answer the telephone, which only rings once or twice a week. But recently, a high number of telemarketers have dialed Brandenburgh's number.

"Over the last couple of years I've had several, well probably more than that, phone calls," said Holland. "People want donations but they're rude or mean."

Holland says she's told the callers no but they continue to push, and they're not nice about it. They even go as far as to threat Holland.

"The guy told me that he'd tell the police on me because I was holding her captive, that it was abuse, I was stealing her money from her," she said. "And if I didn't put her on the phone immediately he'd have the police at my door."

A spokesperson with Aging Partners says the use of aggressive tactics by telemarketers and scammers is on the rise.

He recommends reporting this type of bullying to the Attorney General's Office, signing up for the "No Call List" (which you can find through the A.G.' s office), or even getting a phone with caller I.D. and not answering calls when you don't recognize the number.

In the meantime, Holland says it's sad that this type of tactic is being used. She thinks many of the people on the other side of the phone line have a quota to meet and that their jobs depend on it.

Whether or not that's true, Holland hopes tighter restrictions can be implemented on telemarketers.

"I think it should be against the law for charities to call anybody over the age of 80," said Holland. "Because all they do if they're a scam or a charity, they push them too hard."