They have become a blight on cellphone owners.
The number of annoying ‘spam’ calls trying to sell you products and services your really don’t want are a huge problem.
In fact, there are over a billion of these calls, known as ‘robo calls’ made each year.
They are trying to scam you into giving money and your personal information to dodgy schemes ranging from interest rate services to immigration scams designed to terrify people into giving away their social security number.
Here’s what you can do to stop them.
NEVER answer a robocall
Hanging up and blocking are the two main pieces of advice from the FTC.
It says to stop calls, you should:
How to stop Robocalls according to the FTC
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.
You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is from a fake, or ‘spoofed’ number. A Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller. Scammers are really good at targetting you with calls that appear to come from your local area.
- 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.
This is one of the classic signs of a scam call – please don’t respond, and hang up immediately.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
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.
- Never give out personal information
Robocalls will ask you for details such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information. DO NOT give out any information at all – just hang up.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
It’s also worth adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry here – although most scammers ignore this list.
What is a robocall?
Automated calls are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities and medical alert systems.
“If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall,” the FTC says.
What is ‘Caller ID Spoofing?
Often a robocall will appear to come from your own area code. This is NOT the case.
Instead, scammers are using software to trick the phone system into changing the number that appears of your phone screen, a technique known as Caller ID Spoofing.