Robocall Scam Alert: We’re all being hounded incessantly by robocalls, both on our landlines and on our smartphones. But we are not powerless to block the scammers and telemarketers who bother us night and day, including weekends and holidays.
First of all, the Federal Trade Commission “do not call” registry does not work.
It blocks only legitimate robocallers, but nearly all these robocall creeps are scammers and spammers who get around the rules with impunity. So it may not be worth your time to bother registering or updating your number or numbers.
I’ve been on the “do not call” registry for a decade, but still getting more scam robocalls than ever these days, So are you.
3 Billion Robocalls a Month
Yes Billion. Yes, in one month. That’s an increase of 1 Billion calls a month since the previous April.
Unless this deadly virus is stopped, or at least slowed down, it could mean 4 or 5 Billion unwanted scam and spam robocalls a month in 2019. That’s a horrifying prospect. And an annoying prospect.
Part of the problem is that while the FTC considers robocalls to be a fraud on consumers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) believes robocalls are “beneficial” to consumers to get them.
So while the FTC and the FCC duke it out to figure out what to do to stop the spammers and scammers, here’s what you can do for yourself right now.
ecoXplorer Robocall Scam Alert Tips:
- Some policies may imply that by giving your phone number or agreeing to a business’s terms and conditions, you gave them permission to contact you and possibly to share your contact information with others.
- Do not sign into websites with your phone number. Use a password.
Screen your calls
Do not answer a call from a number you do not recognize.
Scammers now use something called “spoofing” to look like the call is from a number in your area, making it look like the call is from a neighbor or friend, or perhaps an emergency from your child’s school.
Do not answer a call from a number that caller ID identifies as “out of area”, since this is most likely a spammer or scammer robo-calling from an unidentified number, including a “spoofing” number.
Block anonymous calls that show up on caller ID as “Unknown” callers
Use reverse lookup to detect fake caller ID information before you call back a number you do not recognize.
If you do happen to pick up a robocall by accident, do not click any prompt buttons. Just hang up.
- ecoXplorer tip: I keep a loud whistle by my desk phone. If I happen to answer a robocall by mistake and there’s a live person on the other end, rather than a recorded message, I give him or her a blast. It’s just too bad if I blow out the spammer’s eardrum. Just too bad.
Which app works for you depends on a combination of your phone’s operating system and the level of call protection you need. Start by contacting your landline and/or cellphone provider to ask if they have blocking features.
The tech website Wonder of Tech recommends these FREE robocall blocking apps:
AT&T Call Protect App
If you have AT&T cell phone service, you can – and should – download the FREE Call Protect app. It includes automatic fraud blocking, suspected spam warning and the ability to add numbers to your block list. You can use the app to report spam calls and see a list of numbers that have called you.
Robokiller blocks calls from over 100,000 telemarketers, tells you who’s calling, and lets you create your own block and allow lists. This app is the winner of the FTC RoboCall’s Contest and comes highly rated. Robokiller is free to download and comes with a free trial period, after which Robokiller charges a fee for its services.
Hiya Caller ID & Block
Lets you block unwanted calls and text messages and create a blacklist for unwanted callers, gives spam alerts, helps identify who is calling, and doesn’t contain ads, like some other free apps. The iPhone version is English only, while the Android version is available in English, French, German and Spanish.
If you receive unwanted calls or robocalls in violation of the FTC policy, take notes. You’ll want to gather this information from the call: incoming phone number, date and time of call, what the call was about, and whether it was a recording or live person.
File a complaint on the FTC website. The agency has made its complaint form simple, with numerous drop-down menus to help you through the process.
Alternatively, call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC.
Forward SPAM text messages to 7726 (or SPAM). This free text exchange with your wireless provider will report the SPAM number, and you will receive a response thanking you for reporting it.
What’s your tip for blocking or ignoring robocalls?