Over the past few years, the number of robocalls and telemarketing calls received by the average consumer has skyrocketed. Phones ring at all hours with offers, scams, and threats. Robocalls and telemarketers try to entice listeners to sign up for credit card offers and vacation time-shares. Malicious callers want to scare consumers into thinking they owe back taxes or that a family member is in trouble. Fraudulent debt collectors threaten consumers into paying sums they don’t actually owe.
1. Don’t Answer Unknown Calls
The easiest way to beat telemarketers is to avoid answering unknown calls using Caller ID. Legitimate callers will leave a voicemail. If you do answer a call, do not press a number when prompted. This will give away that you have a live phone number and may be vulnerable to future calls.
2. Look Up Unknown Numbers
When you receive a call from an unknown number, it’s always wise to look it up. Reverse phone lookup systems provide an extensive database of phone numbers and allow consumers to determine whether a phone call is legitimate. Using reverse phone lookup is a great way to provide peace of mind.
If you do answer, it is unwise to say “Yes” at any point during the call, since unscrupulous callers can record your voice and use it as fraudulent permission to sign you up for unwanted charges.
3. Be Aware Of Spoofing
Recently, the number of “spoofed” phone calls has greatly increased. Computerized systems imitate numbers from your exchange and area code, tricking the consumer into thinking someone local is calling, or that they are a simple wrong number call. If an unknown number has the same first six digits as your phone number, it is highly likely to be a spoofed call. Let it go to voicemail.
4. Use Your Mobile Phone’s Blocking Features
5. Use Apps
Recently, several mobile phone apps have been released which automate the process of looking up a phone number and screening your calls for suspected scams and telemarketers. Some of these apps can also be set to send suspected spam calls directly to voicemail.
6. Sign Up for Call Blocking Services
Many VoIP carriers subscribe to call blocking services like Nomorobo. These services prescreen calls so that they do not reach your phone number at all. It is also possible to buy plug-in call blockers for your landline phone.
7. Sign Up For Do Not Call Lists
The federal Do Not Call list is still useful in preventing some types of unwanted phone calls and texts. It will not protect you against spoofed or scam callers, however.
8. Never Give Out Personal Information
If you do answer a phone call that claims to be from a company you already do business with, be careful not to give out any personal information over the phone. Legitimate companies like utilities will accept that you want to call them back at a known number before you give them any financial information.
With a little planning, it is possible to avoid being taken advantage of by a telemarketer or robocallers. These tips will help you reduce the aggravation of unwanted calls and protect your personal information from scammers.