Robocalls are a plague. Okay, perhaps that’s a bad choice of words in the current climate, but you get what we mean. For many of us, robocalls and spam calls pester us during the day. Some of them wait until you get home from work in the evening and annoy you just as you settle down to relax and get your mind off the nuisances that you had to put up with all day. Ask anyone you know about their experiences with spam calls and robocalls and you’ll probably get the same anger, exasperation, and maybe even feelings of helplessness that you feel about them.
Just like hackers, robocalls are constantly evolving, changing their methods of getting you so that they can get you to agree with something over the phone, or worse – send over your personal information after they’ve gained your trust. Sometimes, we have to admit, these calls can be quite amusing to listen to. For people who know what to look for in a potentially dangerous call like these ones are, the plots that they put forward when you answer the call can be entertaining to some degree. Suddenly, you heard that you owe taxes and there’s a warrant out for your arrest. The next time you receive a robocall, there’ll likely be another urgent matter that you need to respond to.
Types of Robocalls
Did we say that robocalls are potentially dangerous? Indeed, we did. Yes, maybe some robocalls are from reputable organizations that are just trying to sell you their latest policy or are looking to add you to their mailing list so that you’re constantly notified of their latest deals and promotions. Some robocalls are from political or charitable organizations that are asking you to donate money to their cause out of the goodness of your heart. Robocalls also come in the form of businesses that you’ve already engaged with and are looking for feedback on their service – “on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy were you with your interaction with our assistant?” Sometimes, robocalls are employed by companies to remind you about your upcoming appointment or, in worse cases, that you need to pay up on your debts.
The unsolicited kind of robocall or spam call is what you need to be worried about. In fact, it’s illegal to receive unsolicited marketing robocalls unless you’ve given your signed permission. Unsolicited marketing robocalls are fineable offenses, so if you receive a marketing call of this kind, it’s best to hang up immediately and report the number to the relevant authorities. The nature of robocalls can become more dangerous than simply annoying as we go look further at the kinds that you might receive. For example, imposter robocalls work on the trust or fear of many people, working to scare them with a sense of urgency or a threat in order to get money or other information. You’ve probably heard of those horror stories about people who believed that the government asked them to wire money, when in fact it was a scammer on the other end. These imposter robocalls also pretend to be organizations and, acting from a supposed position of authority, will ask you to key in your Social Security number while you’re on the call. Big mistake. Don’t do it. No reputable company will ever ask that of you – and if they do, hang up immediately, then look them up, call them, and ask if they authorized such a call.
So, how do I stop robocalls and spam calls from reaching me? Let’s find out some of the best ways to block these from coming your way.
Join the National Do Not Call Registry List
It was a sigh of relief to hear that the National Do Not Call Registry was to be established. For many, this meant that annoying, unsolicited calls would finally stop if we joined the list and let it be known that we didn’t want to receive pestering phone calls. Legally, if you put your name on this list, telemarketers are not allowed to call you – it’s illegal if they do so.
So, why do I still receive robocalls? That’s because robocalls are often from scammers – or organizations of scammers – that don’t care about the rules anyway. If they want to scam you for money or get your personal information to commit identity fraud, they likely don’t care much for what’s legal or isn’t legal.
Remove Your Information from People Finder Websites
People finder sites have access to a database of publicly accessible information. On many of these websites, typing the name of a person will likely turn up lots of personal information about that individual. This includes phone numbers linked to them – cell phones and landlines – as well as home addresses, criminal records, marriage certificates, and so on. These websites are goldmines for scammers to get your contact information. Once they do, they might be able to get you to give them more information with which they can commit identity fraud, like ask for your SSN over a robocall. Remove your information from these websites manually, or use a service that will remove your name and details from a number of these websites.
Block Unwanted Calls with Your Carrier
In the United States, all four of the major carriers give you access to tools that help you filter out and prevent suspected robocalls, not allowing them to get through to your phone. Contact customer support at your carrier to find out how you can do so, and what other options to have to get rid of robocalls from interrupting your life.
Download Apps to Block Robocalls
Call-blocking apps are becoming increasingly popular on smartphones today since they can identify who is calling you and block them from coming through. These apps work differently to each other, but each of them have the same purpose, for the most part. Also, if these apps don’t actually block the call, they often let you know that the call that you’re receiving is a spam call so that you can cut it.