I’ve noticed that calls to both my land line and cell phone for the most part are numbers that I don’t recognize or there isn’t a caller ID name available. I usually let those calls go to voice mail. The surprising part is that more than half of those callers don’t leave a message. Then I heard about Robocalling.
What’s a Robocall?
Robocalls differ from most spam & telemarketing calls primarily because they are auto-dialed from a computer and deliver a prerecorded message. Robocalls are often designed to enable interaction from the recipient, either through voice or keypad input or through transfer to an agent or representative.
In 2018 robocall tracking company YouMail projected that 1,517 robocalls were made per second. In the May 2019 issue of Consumer Reports their Robocall article reports the breakdown of categories of robocalls,
39.36% are scams
23.43% are alerts and reminders
19.82% are payment reminders
17.39% are telemarketers
Consumer Tips to Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Avoid Phone Scams
We turned to the Federal Communications Commission for information on how to stop robocalls and phone scams. Here’s their list of suggestions:
- Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a "local" number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
- If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes."
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
- If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls, so they can help block those calls for you and others.
- To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.
Dean and Draper
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