What is a robocall?

They’re incredibly annoying, but just what is a robocall?

It can be defined as a call that delivers an automated or prerecorded voice message.

They’ve become incredibly widespread in recent years, and are incredibly irritating.

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.

“If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal. Many are also probably scams.”

Where do you get robocalls?

Sadly, scammers have expanded so you’ll get them pretty much everywhere -be it your cellphone or landline.

Cellphone scammers have become very sophisticated at being able to ‘spoof’ number, so they pretend to come from the same area code as your own number, making it more likely people will pick up. Don’t.

How to stop robocalls

So how do you stop robocalls? We’ve put together a guide so you’ll be able to minimise the number you get.

In a nutshell, hanging up and blocking are the two main pieces of advice from the FTC.

How to stop Robocalls according to the FTC

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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