Top 15 Tips To Prevent Robocalls
We are being invaded by robocalls! These automated phone calls can be annoying and unwanted, but they usually deliver a recorded message.
With the recent rise in IVR ( interactive voice response ) software tools, many businesses are using these types of automated calls as a marketing strategy. The problem? These messages may not be what you want or expect them to be.
Americans have been receiving a lot of robocalls lately, and it’s because there are so many Americans who don’t know how to stop them.
Robocalls are a huge problem for Americans and the number continues to rise. In 2019, over 49 billion robocall advertisements were received by people in America alone!
Although some robocalls may be from legitimate sources, they can also be from scammers seeking to trick or bully you into providing financial information, which could lead to identity theft.
Many callers are getting smarter by tricking us into answering. They may use a number similar to the number we have. Or they may use a number that is similar to one in our contacts.
These spam calls have grown to be quite clever and slick. From scammers, spammers to robocalls, the true and best rule of thumb is to not answer a call from a phone number you do not know.
If they are a legitimate caller, they will leave a message with a matching phone number for you to call back.
The good news? There are steps you can take to help eliminate robocalls.
15 Tips for How to Stop Robocalls
Here are some of the best tips to help you stop annoying, unwanted calls which could come from fraudsters and spammers.
Use the National Do Not Call Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency tasked with consumer protection. Adding your number to this free registry indicates you don’t want to receive telemarketer calls.
Doing so should lessen these calls to your number. However, it may not stem the tide of illegal callers. And charities, political groups, debt collectors, and pollsters can still legally contact you.
Know the Signs of a Scam Call
The key to avoiding scams is knowing the hallmarks of a successful one. A common technique used by scammers, for example, is rewards offered in exchange for sensitive information or confirmations on transactions that never happened – this includes threats of arrest if you don’t provide what they’re looking for (or just try their luck).
They may ask you to confirm your name when calling. They may never have your correct name. They are vague in identifying themselves such as stating they are from the “Finance department”, or Treasury Department” but never which company.
Just hang up on these callers and then block the numbers. It’s best never to answer these calls.
Some calls may state they are calling about a debt. Whether you have a debt or not, DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE any financial data. This could be phishing for one.
If they are a legitimate debt collector, they will identify themselves from which agency, which debt they are representing, the accrued amount of debt and they have to have the original amount of debt and the original date the debt went into default. These callers will always send you a paper correspondence to cover themselves legally.
Don’t Answer Anonymous Calls
You don’t have to answer the phone, especially when you don’t know who’s calling. If you don’t know who is calling your number, then don’t answer. If they choose not to be identified, you have the right NOT to answer your calls.
Legitimate friends, associates, and colleagues are willing to be identified because they are not shady.
Simply let anonymous, unknown, or unidentified numbers go to voicemail.
Use the Silence Unknown Callers Feature
With this iPhone feature, you can silence all calls from numbers that are not in your contacts list. When an unknown caller reaches out to find out who they’re calling for the first time and it’s not one of their regular contacted phones; then these people will get added to a special Recents list and sent to voicemail. There you will be able to view if the caller is legitimate.
To enable the feature, go to Settings, then choose Phone. Toggle the “Silence Unknown Callers” button so it’s turned on.
Use a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number
You can purchase a VoIP number through a service provider, such as Google Talk, then direct calls to your cellphone.
You can also use voice.google.com and get a free phone number. You will need to download the app on your phone to make calls from your mobile phone. You can also you the website from your laptop.
For instance, you could give your real cellphone number only to friends and family and the VoIP number to anyone else who needs to reach you. Using the VoIP features, you could send all calls to voicemail and screen for robocalls.
Use Cellphone-Carrier Blocking Tools
Some of the major cellular telephone carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T allow you to block unwanted calls on your iPhone or Android device with a simple app.
Some free options are available while others charge monthly fees for their services but it’s important that before choosing which one is the right fit just because they offer this feature doesn’t mean all will work well in conjunction so check out what each has offered then decide upon something you’ll be happy using.
Report Robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission gathers information about robocalls and analyzes trends, which helps various experts to identify illegal callers based on patterns. This data can also help create call-blocking solutions and develop anti-robocall laws. You can file a complaint on the FTC website.
Block Incoming Calls
When you receive an automated call, there is a chance that they will continue calling back until your voicemail picks it up.
You can block specific numbers from calling you, which stops them dead before they even start.
Block each specific number that calls you through the prompts on your mobile phone.
For the Apple iPhone, click the ”i” in the circle next to the number. The “i” mean “information” about the number.
Then scroll down on the next screen to the bottom to “Block this Caller”.
Don’t Trust Caller ID
Spoofing technology can allow scammers to fake the name and phone number that shows up on your screen, making it appear as though a call is coming from a local number or even a government agency.
Scammers are always looking for new ways to steal your money and identity, so it’s important that you protect yourself by blocking unknown numbers on your phone.
If an unfamiliar call shows up as being from a local number or even one associated with government agencies and you’re not expecting a call, if they are legitimate, they will leave a message.
If you don’t recognize a number and it’s similar to your own, it’s best to let it go to voicemail. Rule of thumb: Do Not Answer!
Use Your Phone’s Do-Not-Disturb Function
This is a great feature to have if you want your phone not to be distracting when someone calls during certain times. You can turn off the ringer, so they’ll only get answered by these calls, and those who are allowed access will know where we’re at!
Use a Third-Party App
You can block nuisance calls and text messages with a number of third-party apps if you don’t want to be bothered by spam ever again. To stop receiving annoying calls and texts, you can use third-party apps from reputable sources such as the Google Play Store or iOS App store.
These services will allow users access to their contact lists in order to block unwanted noise pollution while still giving them freedom over what they want filtered through social media platforms like Facebook Messenger etc., without having worries about information being compromised.
Stop Providing Your Phone Number
Next time you download an app or sign up for a service, question whether you really need to give your phone number.
Limiting the information you provide, can help to keep your personal details safe.
This is because some marketers and hackers work through robocallers who may try getting lists of numbers by exposing them to data breaches like credit card hacks or e-mail theft attacks on companies with important customer databases.
But if these people have no knowledge of what personal data is being collected, then there will be a risk of them being taken advantage of when they inevitably find out about any exposed material later down the line.
Don’t Verbally Confirm Personal Information
If you receive a call that seems suspicious, just hang up. Don’t answer any calls that come in unless you know who it is.
If they ask for personal information or respond with strange questions, just hang up on them and call the police instead.
Don’t provide personal information or respond to any questions and make sure not to forget about this in future calls because your number may be found out.
Don’t Press Buttons to Confirm Information
Hang up immediately if someone tells you to press a button in order to not receive any more calls from them. Scammers may use this as an identifying method for potential targets and it should be treated with extreme caution because of the deceiving and predatory techniques they use.
Scammers will try any trick in the book to get a response from you, but there are some examples that they can’t beat.
For example, if someone recorded themselves telling me to press the button now so I won’t receive any more calls, then sure enough once pressed, “hang up” sounded throughout my head as the caller then has a human intercept and join the call as you pressed the button.
Pressing a button alerts their automated system to let them know a liver person did answer their call and to deliver their bate.
Again, just hang up!! Truly, do not answer phone numbers you do not know!
Don’t Respond to Pressure
Hang up the phone if you’re being pressured to provide information immediately. Do your own investigation and don’t be afraid of using hanging up as a technique because it could work in your favor.
Robocall-Blocking Apps to Consider
Below is a listing of several robocall-blocking apps for iPhone and Android that you may want to consider.
Hiya Caller ID and Block*
Hiya Caller ID and Block claims to use a database of known scammers to help you identify incoming robocalls, block calls and text messages, set up a blacklist of numbers to ignore, and receive spam alerts. Hiya also claims to work with more than 100 carriers worldwide. The basic app is free. The premium option for iPhones starts at $3.99 a month ($24.99 a year) and the Android version starts at $2.99 per month.
Nomorobo Robocall Blocking*
On their website, Nomorobo promises to intercept a call after the first ring, check the number against a list of known robocallers, and let calls go through that are likely legit. Legal robocalls, like school closings, are also allowed through, and you can block spam text messages and report a robocall or spam call. Nomorobo claims to have blocked more than 1.3 billion robocalls. Pricing begins at $1.99 a month for cell phones and is free for VoIP landlines.
RoboKiller claims on its website that it can block spam calls from a database of 1.1 million telemarketers and robocalls and even answers spam calls with prerecorded messages. The service also detects voice patterns so even if the robocaller changes its number, RoboKiller will know its audio fingerprint. Expect to pay $2.99 a month for Android phones and $3.99 per month for iOS devices.
* The inclusion of websites, apps, or links does not imply endorsement or support of any company, material, product, and/or provider listed herein.
Why is it So Hard to Stop Robocalls?
This is not a new problem, but it’s one that has become more prevalent with the rise of internet calling.
Many people are now able to make phone calls without having any connection at all by using dial-up modems or DSL connections from their home ISP instead of traditional landline telephones which were once only available through street address exchanges.
These days you can even get mobile broadband.
As if things weren’t bad enough already, spoofing caller ID makes them seem like they’re coming out of nowhere so there’s really no way for law enforcement officials to track down who made those unwanted hassle campaigns against us.
Cut down on the robocalls that reach your phone by using these tips and a call-blocking app.
The U.S government is trying to come up with long-term solutions, but you can help reduce this problem in short order.
Here’s how: firstly use an app like missed calls or block caller ID numbers from showing when someone rings without leaving their name attached; secondly keep track of who called so as not to be fooled again later down the line (or give them another chance); thirdly don’t pick up unless it’s truly urgent because there may well just glut more unsolicited commercial messages landlines at home.
The U.S government and phone carriers are struggling to come up with a long-term solution, but you can use these tips and an app that helps cut down on the robocalls that reach your phone.