Unsolicited robocalls are a huge problem. Not only are they nuisances, illegal robocalls often end up costing consumers time and money. While the schemes vary, the goal is the same, to get your money. Here are some helpful tips to help identify and protect you from robocall scams.
What is a Robocall?
Robocalls are prerecorded messages that play when you answer a phone call. Instead of a live person, an automatic script plays, typically a scam offer. Through the use of auto-dialers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telemarketers have increased efforts to spread their money-grabbing schemes. Autodialers can make millions of calls in minutes. Some VoIP service providers allow overseas telemarketers access to phone lines of U.S. consumers, a violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Telemarketing Sales Rule. Robocallers use VoIP services to initiate hundreds of millions of illegal robocalls.
It’s not safe to rely on caller ID. Scammers use spoofing; a tactic that allows them to fake the name and number that shows up, making it look like a call is from a legitimate business, government agency, or a local number. If you receive an unsolicited call asking for your personal/financial information, or prompting you to pay money by wire transfer or a gift card, it’s a scam.
Robocall Threats are Illegal
Robocall scammers may disguise themselves as government officials, law enforcement, or major companies that may threaten you if you don’t pay some fictitious debt. Legitimate companies, law enforcement, and government agencies do not operate in this way. These practices are illegal.
Fighting Back Against Robo-scams
While the robocall message may vary, the main goal is to get into your wallet or obtain personal and financial information. But there are ways to protect yourself. Communication is one of the most important ways to stop robocalls and the damage they can do. The first step is to cut the communication with the scammer by hanging up on robocalls. Second, communicate with your family, friends, associates, and acquaintances about robocalls.
Here’s how you can fight robocalls:
- Ignore calls from unknown or unfamiliar numbers.
- If the recording asks you to hit a button to stop calls--don’t. Simply hang up.
- Utilize call-blocking technology and apps to help avoid robocalls. A list of call-blocking apps for Android , iOS, Windows, or Blackberry devices is available on the U.S. wireless communications industry website, ctia.org.
- Contact your phone provider to block unwanted calls. Company-specific information about blocking calls on landlines and phones that use the internet can be found on fcc.gov.
- Protect your personal information. Never give your social security number, financial information, account information, password, or other information to unsolicited callers or anyone you have not checked out thoroughly.
- Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics or threats.
- Be cautious of spoofed numbers. Scammers use methods to disguise their phone numbers and make it appear that calls are coming from government agencies or other official entities. If in doubt, call the official number of the agency or company to confirm the request.
- Register your number on the National Do Not Call List.
Robocalls can be reported to the FTC and the FCC. If you have been scammed or have a problem with a business, let BCA assist you with filing a complaint. Make sure to share this article with others now to help fight robocalls and follow us on Facebook for more consumer tips, scam warnings, and trending news.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.