Spoofed and unwanted calls are a major problem around the world. In fact, most complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are related to robocalls. They’re also the watchdog’s top priority when it comes to consumer protection.
Other commonly reported programs include calls being blocked by mistake, numbers being spoofed, and robocall blocking services and apps mistakenly label calls as scam calls.
It’s hard to tell when a call is spoofed – caller ID does not reveal it. It might show a “local” number, but this does not reveal who the caller is. While cell phone number lookupis certainly an option, it’s time-consuming and not always fully reliable. Here’s what you can do to stop robocalls once and for all.
Things to do to Stop Robocalls
Don’t pick up the phone when you get a call from an unknown number. Hang up at once if you answered, albeit out of curiosity or by mistake.
Scammers can sometimes tell you to press a button to opt-out of their calls. Don’t do this; it’s a trick. Alternatively, you might hear a recording saying this.
In addition, you should never provide personal details, such as your mother’s maiden name, account numbers, passwords, emails, Social Security numbers, or anything else that can identify you.
Don’t answer any questions, especially ones you can respond to with “Yes.” This might be taken as consent to something you do not actually consent to.
You should also set a password for any voice mail accounts if you have them. Without a password, a hacker might spoof your number and access your voicemail service if it’s preset to give access automatically.
Importantly, you should not take someone’s word for it if they say they represent a government service or legitimate company. Look up the company or agency online and call them to verify the authenticity of the inquiry. If a legitimate source is trying to contact you, the phone call will be preceded by a written statement in the mail, especially if the caller wants money.
Don’t give in to pressure to provide information, no matter what type of information is being requested.
If you’re using blocking technology, you should report the numbers from which you’re getting robocalls to your provider. If you’re not using such technology yet, it might be worthwhile to look into it. Talk to your phone company about what blocking tools and apps they suggest. You can download these to your cell phone.
In addition, you can also register your phone number on Do Not Call to stop getting telemarketing calls. Legitimate companies check this list and never call numbers on it, whether they are landline or mobile numbers.
Help is Available
The good news is that watchdogs such as the FCC are cracking down on robocalls in quite a few ways. The FCC is stimulating phone companies to block unwanted or illegal calls by default before they reach users based on reliable call analytics. Hundreds of millions are being issued in actions against the organizations behind illegal robocalls. What’s more, consumers have access to tools to block calls from any number that isn’t whitelisted or isn’t on the person’s contact list. To improve call labeling and blocking solutions, the FCC is making user complaint data available.
Last but not least, the FCC is requiring phone service providers to reduce spoofed calls by introducing caller ID authentication. More information about call labeling and blocking tools is available here.