6 min read
Stop robocalls by starting here.
Your phone buzzes. You glance at the screen and sigh. It’s another call from a mystery number. You let it go to voicemail. You don’t want to hear the “news” about your fantastic luck in winning a cruise or your possible criminal convictions in states you’ve never visited. Robocalls are a pain in
- What Are Robocalls and Who’s Fighting Them?
- Don’t Answer
- Try the Do Not Call Registry
- Contact Your Service Provider
- Turn to Call-Blocking Apps
- Talk to Your Parents and Kids
- Add Coverage for Your Identity
1. What Are Robocalls and Who's Fighting Them?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), robocall scammers dial millions of numbers using:
- Autodialing software.
- Servers hosting the autodial software.
- Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service.
Sometimes, these scammers use nothing more than a laptop and cheap software to replicate phone numbers, including the numbers of police departments. What they’re doing is highly illegal, and they want to con you out of your personal and financial information.
- Qualify for a guaranteed government grant.
- Will win an international lottery if you give them $100 now.
- Should send money to someone posing as a family member.
- Qualify for an advanced loan.
- Could make big bucks working as a secret shopper.
- Are being charged with crimes, but you can avoid arrest by paying a few hundred dollars.
The FTC says they’re finding and prosecuting criminal callers, though they continue to spread like a virus.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also continues to update their rules to fight spam calls. It’s nice to see the government taking up the fight, but more than half of your calls will be robocalls soon if you don’t take any measures.
The telecommunications industry is rolling out technology that will identify potential spoofed calls for landlines and cell phones before you answer the call.
You’re not a government agency or a huge company, though. You might wonder how to stop robocalls on an individual level.
We’re glad you asked!
2. Don't Answer
The best rule of thumb is this recommendation straight from the FCC:
Never, and we mean NEVER, answer calls from unknown numbers.
When you answer bogus calls, you let scam artists know that:
- Your line is active.
- You’ll probably pick up the next call.
The end result is more unwanted harassment, so let those mystery calls go to voicemail. You also need to look out for a text-based scheme called smishing. You’ll receive a message from someone posing as your bank, Google, or a government institution. They’ll ask you to respond to the text with a specific phrase.
If you do this, you’ll allow a criminal to install information-collecting malware on your phone. You should never respond to a smishing text. Delete the message and report it to your cell phone carrier.
Not all robocalls or confirmation texts come from criminal schemes. You’ll receive robocall reminders or texts from your doctor, dentist, or any business that confirms appointments.
3. Do Not Call Registry
The FTC encourages you to put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry if you don’t want unsolicited calls or texts. This might reduce the number of calls you receive, but scammers don’t care much for legalities.
There’s a good chance they’ll continue to bombard you with calls. Even after you put your name on the National Do Not Call Registry, you could still receive perfectly legal calls from:
- Debt collectors
- Political groups
4. Contact Your Service Provider
Your wireless carrier probably offers a service that will help you manage robocalls and block specific numbers. You might be limited to a set amount of numbers to block.
Prices and features vary, but Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint offer expanded call-screening services for their customers.
5. Turn to Call-Blocking Apps
There are tons of call-blocking apps out there. We’ll save you some time by directing you to these call-blocking and security apps that appear on several “best of” lists:
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but these people don’t care
You should review this FTC phone scam guide with them so they’ll hang up when they hear:
- “You have to make a decision now.”
- “You’ve been selected for a special prize.”
- “We have a great investment opportunity.”
- “Would you like a free trip to the Bahamas?"
7. Add Coverage for Your Identity
A call comes in, and you aren’t paying much attention. You answer, and the voice on the other end sounds familiar. You fall into a casual conversation and give away some personal information.
Maybe you’re tired or relaxed. Maybe your mind is occupied by other things.
A few minutes after the conversation ends, you realize what you’ve done. You’ve been tricked, but you’re not sure what to do.
Call your local Pekin Insurance agent to add Identity Fraud Protection Services to your