They’re one of modern life’s greatest nuisances – robocalls. We all know the drill. We’re sitting at our desks at work or relaxing at home with a Netflix binge, and the phone rings. Even though we don’t recognize the number, we answer. After all, it could be the doctor, pharmacy or vet calling.
Hello? A pause, and then here it comes – the recorded voice or the actual human on the other end telling us we’ve been selected for something big! Sigh. We hang up, typically irritated by the interruption.
Don’t you just wish the calls would stop? Me too. So here are some steps we can both take to make that happen.
First, it’s important to remember that robocalls are a hotbed of scams of all types. Callers may be trying to get important personal information out of you, like your Social Security number or bank account numbers. Worse yet, the scammers could be fishing for you to send cash. Current scams identified by the FTC include people impersonating the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, for example. Another one floating around is from folks impersonating IRS representatives.
So, we have to remain vigilant to protect your sensitive personal information. One easy way to avoid the scammers is to simply not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. After all, if it’s legitimate and important, callers can leave a message. If you do pick up an unknown call, end the call immediately if you find it’s a pre-recorded message.
According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attorney Kati Daffan, “Don’t press one to speak to a live operator. And don’t press any other number to get off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.”
Your front-line defense for avoiding these calls is to sign up for the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry. But, while it’s illegal for telemarketers to call you if you’re on this list, many still do. It’s also wise to sign up for the FTC’s Scam Alerts. This service will let you know about current robocalls and scams that have already been reported to the FTC.
Check Out: 4 Ways To Stop Getting Automated Phone Calls
Another strategy is to download an app that automatically blocks known robocall numbers. Make sure that the app updates its list frequently. One such app for both Andriod and iPhones is Mr. Number, and this one and others are recommended by the US wireless industry group CTIA’s website.
Also, be sure to check if your wireless carrier has services that can cut down the number of robocalls you receive. For example, T-Mobile has a scam block tool called Scam ID, and AT&T offers an app called Call Protect. If you see that you are getting bogus calls repeatedly from the same number, it’s time to block that number on your phone.
Follow the steps above, and you should get fewer robocalls. Still, if you continue to get a few here and there, but sure to file a complaint with the FTC. When you do that, you give the organization valuable data to help them stop whoever is sending out the calls.
I’ve taken these steps and encourage you to do the same. It may not work perfectly, but it’s at least a way to decrease those aggravating calls. Now, I’m going to put my phone on vibrate and get back my popcorn and the latest episode of Westworld, uninterrupted.