The phone rings and you pick up the call, expecting to hear from a friend or business associate. Instead, it’s the fluttering phone connection of an overseas telemarketing call, … Read More
You’ve just sat down to dinner with your family or friends when the phone rings. Although you live a happy crime-free life, the message you receive is distressing.
The voice-recording on the other end of the line is threatening. The caller explains that they’re from a respected government agency and that you’re now at risk of jail time if you don’t take immediate action. You feel your stomach drop to your feet. Have you suddenly entered a life of crime?
You’ve received a robocall and, worse, you are not alone. Millions of people receive these sorts of calls daily. Robocalls are not going away any time soon because they work. These sorts of calls are increasing in number and becoming more and more sophisticated, as they learn to rely on A.I. technology.
If you or your loved ones receive frequent robocalls, you’re probably ready for them to stop. Wondering just how big of a problem robocalling is? We have the most recent stats, and you might never want to pick up your phone again!
While California has the most reported robocalls compared to other states, Texas has the most robocalls in the nation. As of April 2019, Texas received over 556 million calls. Not to be outdone, California still made second place with over 499 million calls!
Wondering What Are the Top Area Codes That Receive Robocalls?
If you live in the 214 area of Dallas, Texas or know someone who does, they may not be thrilled to be the winning city for the most automated calls received. In sixth place is Atlanta, Georgia, with Birmingham, Alabama, and Houston, Texas coming in seventh and eighth respectively.
– Hiya’s Robocall Radar report
They can cost you peace of mind, money, and even risk complete financial ruin if your identity gets stolen. Join us as we investigate the facts, risks, and how to protect yourself in our first ever in-depth guide to robocalls!
A.I. or Artificial Intelligence is one of the hottest topics of 2019, which means that robocalls were ahead of their time! A robocall is essentially a phone call that is pre-recorded and makes use of an automated process to auto-dial a phone call, i.e., makes “robot calls”. There is a strong correlation between telemarketing calls, political advertising, and public service and emergency announcements.
Telemarketers or often scammers use an automated system to call specific area codes with a message involving a ruse designed to separate the receiver from their money or sensitive information. Once someone answers the phone, a generic or targeted recording begins, requesting that the listener enter bank account, credit, or debit card numbers, along with PIN codes. In many cases, a live person is available to assist in collecting all this data which will then turn it over to others who cash in.
– Robert Siciliano, CEO of Safr.Me
However, scammers use robocalls to send personalized scam messages, which seek to simulate legitimate phone calls and trick the recipient into providing money, and banking or credit card information.
For this reason, they’re more than a nuisance alone. Each robocall you believe may cost you where it hurts most – your wallet and pride, from having been conned.
Despite the continued threat posed by robocalls, the good news is that A.I. or machine learning may be able to find a way out of the abyss. Advanced machine learning is currently figuring out how to use real-time analytics to identify spoofed calls. The use of A.I. data, in combination with data from phone networks, may be able to target and combat the fluid identities and numbers used by robocallers.
According to the FTC’s infographic, companies call potential customers (or, in the case of scammers, victims) from legitimate phone numbers, fake “spoofed” caller I.D. numbers, or through an auto-dialer. The recipient hears a prerecorded message or is transferred to someone called a “qualifier”.
Calls and leads which “qualify”, are then sent/transferred directly to telemarketers who make the sale (or, if they are a scammer, complete the scam. All of these calls originate from phone carriers which may have called through auto dialers, spoofed phone numbers, or VoIP calls. The telephone carrier sends calls through the Pacific Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to telephone carriers. Worldwide, all numbers travel through the PSTN.
Never heard of the PSTN?
According to the FTC it, “… consists of transmission facilities” (including phone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, cellar radios, communication satellites) and “switching facilities” (or central office switches, databases, 800 # translation, gear for cellular handoffs, multiplexors, etc.). The FTC also states that the PSTN can be “circuit- or packet-switched”.
As a recipient of these calls, the telemarketer found your phone number on a purchased list of numbers or your number may have been dialed at random. Once you receive an illegal robocall, you may either, for example:
Although you may still get robocalls at other times, at least you avoided that specific call. For any calls you received or future calls, you should file a complaint with the FTC’s Do Not Call list.
Be forewarned! If you choose option #1, you will be added to a “hot list” and receive more calls. If you select option #2 and request to be removed from the list, your request will likely be ignored!
The biggest goal of most robocalls (except those which are legitimate reminders of scheduled appointments or about local safety) is money. First, is a lead list seller, which sells their phone list to the telemarketer. Both the lead list seller or the telemarketing company may use the list with an auto-dialer.
Also used by telemarketers are voice recording sellers and spoofed caller I.D. providers, all of which make money when they are bought or used. In conjunction with an autodialer, a company may use an internet-based phone or VoIP line through the PSTN, which will connect with the consumer’s phone carrier to make the company money through completed sales or scams. This process sometimes occurs through the Caller I.D. database and the aforementioned spoofed numbers often used by telemarketers!
If you don’t remember life before robocalls, then you’re probably a millennial. Robocalls have been in existence since the 1980s when computers began to revolutionize our world. What started as a technology that not many people had access to, became widely available. It was no longer too expensive for businesses to purchase computers and many did, en masse.
Soon, software-based robocall programs were created and implemented. Robocall laws were not in existence yet (such as The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991), and it was possible to make use of the technology with fruitful results. It wasn’t long before businesses, and political endeavors became reliant on this fast, easy, and relatively inexpensive way to reach out to future customers or supporters.
To advertisers, it made sense! Hey, could obtain potential customers without expensive print flyers or magazine and newspaper advertisements. To the recipient of the calls, it was easy to see that this technology would soon wear thin and government oversight would be needed.
One increasing problem with robocall scams is the use of spoofed phone numbers. A spoofed telephone number also called caller ID spoofing is when a telephone network displays a phone number that is not accurate and not who placed the call.
So, even if you block the phone number displayed, you’re blocking a fake display number and not the original number calling you. To help protect against number or neighbor spoofing, the FCC is urging the phone industry to adopt a caller I.D. authentication system.
Robocalls are efficient and (even after you manage to weed out a certain number of robocalls through the Do Not Call Registry, robocall blocking apps, and the help of your cell carrier) you might be surprised to find that legal robocallers exist. These callers sound like spam, feel like spam, but some of these calls are protected by law.
Robocalls by Category from YouMail’s Robocall Index:
Although this scam isn’t new, it is so popular that people on social media even talk about it. When it happens, you receive a call from someone pretending to be from the IRS. They will “inform” you of a bogus tax bill and use fake titles and other official-sounding jargon, hoping you will fall for their trick.
They want money and your private information. Even for those educated about this scam, the “official” sounding message can be easy to believe.
This scam is particularly dangerous for anyone who is ill, elderly or has a compromised immune system. Once someone steals your health insurance information, they can use your health insurance benefits illegally. This can result in a denial of service, when you need it most, or allow the scammer to get a hold of your information and destroy your identity with fraudulent credit cards, etc.
Health insurance robocallers say they need to verify insurance information or may suggest a health plan or discount plan. Either way, your info will be stolen, or you will sign up for a service you don’t need.
If you have a website, small business, or brand, a robocaller will claim that your website, social media, or Google Maps location, etc. are set to vanish. The robocaller may also declare that your web service will be terminated unless you pay for their SEO service.
A spoofed call is one where the caller ID shows a different telephone number than the person calling you. Scammers use it, salespeople and collection agencies, to make it appear that they’re calling from your area code.
They know that you’re more likely to answer a local number. The problem with this is that even if you block the call, you’re only blocking the spoofed number.
Legal robocalls typically include:
This type of phone call will originate from a legitimate business which employs telemarketers. The telemarketer will request that someone purchase any given product or service. If you’re uncertain if you’re speaking to a valid telemarketer and not a scammer, ask for more details including the name of the company, direct phone number, and search both online.
When a legal robocaller calls you, the message may include a pre-recorded audio message. To meet the provisions of the law, this message should only communicate needed and necessary information to the consumer. This might be information about your doctor or dentist appointment, airline flight updates, school events, and fraud alerts from your credit card.
If you receive a call from an agency conducting market research, they might play a robocall announcement about who they are looking to talk to. It might not be the phone call you were expecting, but it is legal, and you can proceed with the request or hang up.
These legal charity calls may ask for your information and attempt to collect funds towards their charitable organization or cause. By law, they will identify themselves and provide you with their contact information at the start of the call.
You may receive a robocall in a foreign language, from the country you emigrated from. They will say that the consulate received a package for you or that you are at risk of being investigated by your country of origin. They will ask you for information such as your bank or credit card to transfer money or the items to you.
Does this scam work?
According to the NPR, yes!
The Chinese Consulate/Embassy robocall scam has been targeting those with Asian sounding last names or of Asian descent. They will lie that you have received a package and must pay a fee or fine for shipment or storage. Another variation is when the (fake!) Chinese law enforcement official insists they have your passport, driver’s license, social security card, or credit card and need money to ship it to you or store it.
Others may say that you have committed an illegal offense, which will be “forgiven” once a fee is paid. If you resist, the caller will threaten you with jail time and ask for payment or cryptocurrency to put an end to the problem.
Last, they might come up with a wild explanation as to why you need to purchase a gift card and send them the details.
Worse, imagine the fake caller reaching out to your relatives and pretending you’ve been kidnapped and are being held for ransom, all while you are in the safety of your home. If a scammer wants money, they are willing to say anything to get it. They may even transfer you to several people, who they claim is more “official” at the embassy.
Prepare to be terrified by the financial fallout from the Chinese robocall scam! According to data directly from the FBI, in their recent public service announcement, victims reported 350 complaints. Of these victims of fraud, the combined loss reached over $40 million, with the average per victim loss being over $164,000!
These calls were effective and widespread across the United States. Their goal was to focus on the Chinese immigrant population, especially students and faculty visiting from overseas.
If you recently received a suspicious call from someone speaking Chinese and saying they were from the Embassy/Consulate, these are the steps you should take.
To stop the Chinese robocall scam:
Receiving frequent robocalls leaves an indelible mark on the recipient. You may grow increasingly annoyed each time the phone rings. If it happens often enough, you may even become leery of also picking up your phone or feel distrustful when you answer an unidentified call.
In April 2019, there were 3.5 billion telemarketing and robocalls made to mobile phones in the United States, with 85% of these calls occurring on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
If you are tired of constant robocalls from advertisers, salespeople, creditors, politicians, and scammers, you’re in good company. Many people wonder how this problem has been going on for so long and why there haven’t been significant changes to our laws.
Part of the reason for ongoing issues with robocalls is because the existing regulations still give legal telemarketers and non-profit organizations the ability to use robocalls. Next, the problem persists due to the accessibility of robocall software and the fact that many robocalls are placed illegally through spoofed numbers originating from outside the United States.
Whether a robocall is legal or not, almost anyone with minimal technical knowledge can download robocall software. Companies who want to work with outside robocallers pay $5,000 to $10,000 to have robocalls contact an entire metropolitan city, in a short period.
Another delay in tackling the robocall problem is related to the phone service carriers not having adequate or widespread software capable of combating the problem. Luckily, this is about to change.
Despite the ongoing trouble from robocalls, this problem hasn’t been unnoticed by legislative bodies. The following laws seek to limit problematic telemarketing and robocalls.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (47 U.S.C. § 227) was in response to consumers complaining about the increasing numbers of telemarketer calls. The TCPA’s goal is to reduce consumers receiving frequent nuisance calls, as well as protect their privacy.
This Act places restrictions on robocalls/prerecorded voice messages to mobile phones, landline phones, messages via text, and faxes (unsolicited). Telemarketers cannot contact anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry.
According to the Federal Communication Commission Rule (47 C.F.R. § 64.1200), automatic dialers with prerecorded voice messages (i.e., telemarketers and robocalls) are prohibited from calling residential phone lines unless they have prior “express written consent” by the person(s) or party named.
Exceptions are emergency calls, non-commercial, commercial but lacking advertising, to benefit a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, or related to health care messaging.
Additionally, if a telemarketer is connected to a call, less than 3% of calls can legally be “abandoned”, which would occur if a live representative did not answer within 2 seconds of a greeting by the person who answered the call.
This is a federal law which applies to telemarketer calls. It is called the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (16 C.F.R. § 310.4) and prohibits telemarketers from calling anyone on the National Do Not Call Registry list or anyone who states that they don’t wish to receive calls.
The telemarketer can call so long as they can provide express written consent (from you) stating that they are allowed to place calls to you and have an established business relationship with you- and as long as you have not asked them NOT to call!
When it comes to spoofing laws, Alabama is among the first to impose SB 514, which passed into law on April 1, 2019, and is now called Act 677. This Act implements strict criminal penalties for any use of a third party to display a spoofed number and creates an oversight process for telecommunications providers. Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states are debating their laws and, as of 2019, Florida has its own “Do Not Call” restrictions, found here: Florida Do Not Call restrictions
The FTC says that TCPA should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission or 1-888-382-1222.
The FTC says that those who get repeat calls from the same number should ask their service provider to block the number. For calls from different numbers, consumers should find a service (app, etc.) to block unwanted calls.
Although robocalls may be a constant annoyance that most of us experience regularly, government agencies and technology companies are trying to do their part. While many consumers use call blocking apps, you can also search robocall phone numbers individually and prevent them.
However, to truly stop robocalls, there is one technological advance which looks promising. It is called Authentication Caller I.D., and even the FCC is on board with this new system.
According to the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai:
American consumers are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, this consumer among them. Caller ID authentication will be a significant step towards ending the scourge of spoofed robocalls. It's time for carriers to implement robust caller ID authentication.
Caller I.D. authentication would occur through a process called SHAKEN/STIR. This phrase stands for “Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using “toKENs”, i.e., “SHAKEN” and the standard for “Secure Telephone Identity Revisited” or STIR.
The goal of this technology is to prevent neighbor spoofing or robocalls coming from fake numbers they didn’t originate from. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is doing extensive testing on robocalls, and those interested in participating in the study can find further information HERE.
SHAKEN/STIR allows the telecom party, or the number making the call, to attach a digital certificate which verifies identity. This would help to close the loopholes that robocallers rely on and help anti-robocall software to more easily identify fake callers.
One concern is that this technology will take many years to implement, and the potential still exists that A.I. software might try to trick the system. One bill introduced to Congress this year, is called the TRACED Act. This bill would require all telecom companies to use the SHAKEN/STIR system within 18 months of the bill’s passage.
In addition, the FCC would have more time to investigate robocalls. Advancement against robocalls involves more than one agency or government division. According to CNN Business, scientific research in the mid to late 2000’s helped the government, as well as public and private sectors, to understand cyber-crime and take appropriate action. If funded research helped to combat spam (from email), phishing attacks, click-fraud, identify theft, and botnets the same types of research could benefit the fight against robocalls.
Meanwhile, the FCC is asking that telecom companies begin using SHAKEN/STIR by the end of 2019, instead of legislation being passed. Comcast and AT&T have agreed already, but real change won’t happen until all carriers of phone service embrace the technological shift.
Also, although the changes will apply to mobile carriers, landline phones, and VoIP services, this may only limit spoofed phone number robocalls, not prevent them entirely. It may be similar to the way your junk email folder catches spam with filters, but some messages may still sneak through.
You’re tired of robocalls and telemarketers in general. Perhaps you’re receiving dozens of robocalls in a single day and want to make it stop. According to 1991 (even after being updated in 2003 and 2012) Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), there are legal ways for political organizations, non-profits, and other select industries (some sales, others for surveys or bill collection, etc.) to make use of robocalls.
While the TCPA allows consumers to add their name to the National Do Not Call Registry, there are also provisions about consent from the recipient of the calls. If at any time, permission was revoked, the consumer should no longer receive calls.
This means that you can sue if:
You do not give “express consent” that you can be called. For instance, if your cable television company calls you with new products and you consented to these calls when signing up for the service, you cannot sue.
If telemarketers or debt collectors (and others) do not have that consent, you can hire an attorney who can pursue the case and ask for $500-$1500 per call violation. Often, this is done in the form of a class action lawsuit.
When you’re approaching an attorney or going to court, phone records and personal notes will be essential. While small claims court is an option, most lawsuits of this type are done with outside legal help.
If you do pursue a lawsuit in a small claims court, know that claims must typically be under $10,000. There is also the chance that you previously consented to the calls by signing an online document and not reading the fine print!
Several successful class action lawsuits include:
Caribbean Cruise Line, The Berkley Group, and Vacation Ownership Marketing tours. They paid a whopping $56-$78M to consumers who received their (illegal!) calls from 2011 to 2012.
One couple sued Bank of America for receiving approximately 700 loan collection calls in four years, even though the company was asked to stop.
Debt collector, National Recovery Agency, was sued for robocalls to a cell phone, in violation of another law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Petitions against robocallers abound! People are mad, and they want to do something about it! While some anti-robocall petitions circulate in smaller circles, more extensive petitions also exist.
If you are someone who is fighting mad and wants to take action, sign the petition below.
Consumer Reports has requested that we all band together to “Demand phone companies put anti-robocall technology to work.”. Their goal of 300,000 names has already garnished 216,845 signatures.
Other websites such as Komando have taken on the cause and are encouraging users to sign the same Consumer Reports petition to demand that the FCC take immediate action: CR Robocall Petition
Komando also reminded users to be aware of 3rd party apps that might expose their data, including their phone number!
Robocalls and businesses have a complicated history. On the one hand, you have businesses which use telemarketing based robocalls to promote their legitimate products, services, or business. These companies might sell reputable phone service, satellite television, wireless internet, or mortgage loans.
While they are still a business in search of profit, their intent is good. Even though the consumer will tire of most any telemarketing call quickly, as long as the company abides by telemarketing laws and legal guidelines, they won’t risk legal action or class action lawsuits.
Next, you have nuisance robocalls with malicious intent. These are robocalls which try and trick you into signing up for services you do not need and which are falsely promoted. They might steal your credit card information, participate in identity theft, or lie about where they are calling from (IRS, etc.) to get your money.
There is a third type of business which uses robocalls, and it might be the one you want to hear from! Doctors, dentists, even schools use robocalls. However, as tired consumers have burnt out on these types of phone messages, local businesses find that no one is answering their phone.
This means that a doctor’s office or health insurance approval might try and call you (via robocall to avoid additional administrative duties) to verify your appointment time/day etc., and get no answer! According to Pew Research, as of 2018, 95% of Americans now own a cell phone. As cell phones come with built-in caller I.D., more and more cell users are sick of answering robocalls and will not answer unknown calls.
Unfortunately, for businesses or services which historically reach out to their customers by phone, connecting is becoming impossible, leading to concern that robocalls have ruined it for telemarketers!
Imagine that you own or work for a company that sells a product or provides a service, such as refinancing for home mortgages. These types of companies typically employee people for sales jobs, some of which are commission only. In the old days, an employee would have to dial numbers over and over and face failure, according to the former Direct Marketing Association, about 93% of the time.
By participating in robocalls, the company can have robocalls locate potential clients and sort them by interest level. If an individual answers a robocall and participates in requested voice prompts or presses a button to hear more, they will likely be connected to a human via a live transfer leads.
If no action is taken, the call will end, and the employee will not waste their time. Companies, politicians, and salespeople, therefore, are promoters of the use of robocalls. They want this badly enough that lobbyists are attempting to make their mark on the Trump administration, in hopes of keeping the lines of telemarketer (robocalls) communication open for financial and retail industries.
That they are using technology appropriately to contact consumers who don’t mind hearing from them.
It might be a good time for companies to take note as, although regulations and laws exist, many companies are accused of violating those guidelines and rules. Class action lawsuits have been filed against Hyundai, Dish Network, Time Warner, and many more! The Telephone Consumer Protection Agency (TCPA) focuses on class action lawsuits against violators, often resulting in multimillion-dollar class action settlements.
While it is possible to reduce or stop unwanted robocalls, it is essential to follow each of these steps. First, visit the FTC’s National “Do Not Call Registry”.
The “Do Not Call Registry” will allow you to register your phone number, verify registration, and even submit a complaint on their website. Although this will lead to a reduction in calls, scammers and out of the country spammers will not be deterred by your registry on the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) list.
Next, if you want to avoid picking up your phone and wasting time with a robocaller, make use of your phone’s caller I.D. Cell and mobile telephones have caller I.D. features already included. If you are concerned about calls to your home phone, you will need to purchase a phone which incorporates caller I.D. or buy a separate caller I.D. unit.
By viewing the number calling you, you will have the ability to only answer the phone from numbers that you recognize. To help facilitate this, place the phone numbers for businesses and people you regularly talk to into your cell or mobile phone’s contact list. That way, trusted names would appear when they call you.
If harassing or fraudulent calls come through a landline or recurring phone numbers, contact the phone company for assistance and ask them to block the number on your behalf. One tool is to search for suspected robocall or scam calls at Social Catfish’s reverse phone lookup.
This will also let you know who the number is registered to and if the caller is only using a spoofed number. If you have a new phone number which receives an excessive amount of robocalls, consider talking to the phone company and changing numbers. However, this doesn’t guarantee the number will be immune from robocalls since it is a problem nationwide.
If you suspect a fraudulent robocall tried to scam you out of money, take screenshots or images of the phone number and file a complaint with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). If you shared credit, banking, or financial information (or any other private information including driver’s license, SSN, etc.) while on the robocall, immediately contact your bank and credit companies, also, check all banking statements, credit card statements, credit reports, and change your email passwords.
Also, use Social Catfish’s reverse phone lookup to check who registered that number or if it’s a under a VoIP phone line:
Although progress is slow, the FCC is doing their part to stop unwanted robocalls and text messages by:
However, those steps alone are not stopping millions of people from being scammed daily, which is why it’s imperative to master your phone settings to limit these calls.
Although it is annoying to receive robocalls when you’re driving or out in the world, blocking numbers on your cell phone is fast and easy. The method to use depends on what type of cell phone you have. You can also download apps and software from Google Play or the Apple Store, to assist in blocking unwanted calls.
Apple makes it easy to block robocalls calls from your iPhone. Although your iPhone will not recognize all spam callers in advance (unless you download additional software from the App Store), once you receive an unwanted call, future calls from that number can be easily blocked. Another bonus iPhone feature is for unknown text messages is that it labels particular numbers as potential “spam”.
When it comes to blocking robocalls, Android phones use a similar process to Apple’s iPhone. The settings on your Android phone are user-friendly and make it quick and easy to block unwanted calls. If you want the most benefit out of Android’s blocking features, use them consistently, or in conjunction with software downloaded from Google Play.
Are you tired of your meals being interrupted by robocalls? Maybe your children answer the phone, and you don’t like the idea of receiving so many unwanted calls. If you’re tired of picking up your phone and hearing a robocall, follow these steps!
While your mobile phone’s settings may help you avoid (some) unwanted calls, to truly protect yourself from robocallers, it is essential to use a new app. Robocall blocking apps can be both free or paid, widely used, and removed at any time you’re unhappy with them.
App platforms have seen a 495% increase in the number of available call-blocking apps between October 2016 and March 2018.
– CTIA, Consumer Resources
People opt for robocall blocking apps to avoid the risk of being scammed and stop wasting hours of their life answering robocalls! By using our tips along with a robocall blocking app, your voicemail will no longer be packed with obnoxious recordings! Get back to the callers you want to hear from – family, friends, and business.
RoboKiller not only works as an app to stop unwanted calls from telemarketers and robocallers but will also identify and block unfamiliar incoming callers automatically.
This can help you cut down on spam and scam calls. These are also a feature on RoboKiller that allows you to “prank” robocallers and listen to how the RoboKiller bot responded!
Nomorobo is a robocall blocking app with an excellent reputation, it relies on its database of identified spam numbers, with more added daily. It can also discriminate between wanted and unwanted robocalls (so you don’t miss out on a call from your children’s school or your dentist, for example). The app will not access your call logs or contacts for privacy reasons.
If user reviews and a 4.6 rating in the Apple Store and Google Play mean something (spoiler alert, they do!), then Truecaller has earned its spot near the top of the rank. Truecaller is a caller ID and block spam app, available in both free and paid versions for iOS and Android. To date, it has been installed over a million times and allows you to upload your contact list to determine safe callers.
Removing yourself from a robocall list can be difficult. Although a first step is to visit the National Do Not Call Registry and enter your information, this will not stop all calls. You can register by phone at 1-888-382-1222 or online. If you register online, you will need to confirm your registration within 72 hours, via the link they send you.
According to the National Do Not Call Registry:
After you register, other types of organizations may still call you, such as charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys.
After you have successfully registered for the “Do Not Call Registry” and 31 days have passed, if you receive unwanted calls you should report them to the FTC: report it to the FTC. If you answer a phone call and a live person answers at any point, ask to be removed from their call list. While the “Do Not Call Registry” worked satisfactorily, for some, when it was first implemented, it relies upon legitimate companies following the rules.
Scammers or crooks won’t care if you’re on the Registry, as their entire goal is to get your cash by any means necessary! While companies that follow the rules will avoid calling anyone on the “Do Not Call Registry”, lest they are subject to hefty fines if the robocalls keep coming there are more steps you can take!
Have you tried to block robocalls using necessary steps, yet are still having problems? Robocall or nuisance calls generally fit into several categories: occasional and chronic. One person may receive occasional calls, while other individuals receive chronic, ceaseless calls. If you are in the “occasional” category, you may be helped by merely blocking each caller that calls you on a one-by-one basis, via your phone settings.
However, if you are someone who receives frequent, chronic robocalls and the use of call blocking apps are frustrating or give insufficient help, you should go directly through your phone carrier. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are just some of the cell carriers who can add services to your account and prevent endless robocalls.
According to YouMail Robocall Index, there were a reported 48 billion robocalls made in the year of 2018, which is a lot of calls for consumers and unsuspecting call recipients.
This is how the four cell carriers measure up in terms of the protection plans they offer and their cost!
AT&T has a free “Call Protect” (free).
How It Works
AT&T created “Call Protect”, which it considers to be an “analytics-based blocking program”. Mainly, its filters are based on data which gives the company the ability to determine if an incoming caller is likely to be part of a scam, robocall, scheme, or another sort of nuisance calls. By using Call Protect, AT&T manages to review about 1.5 billion calls daily. According to their press release, they do so by looking for “patterns that indicate robocallers”.
Verizon has “Call Filter” (free) and “Premium Call Filter” ($2.99 monthly/subject to change).
How It Works
If you use the free service, Verizon’s Call Filter will help identify and block robocalls. Another benefit is when Verizon alerts you of suspected spam calls and allows for the report of unsolicited callers. Next, Call Filter will also automatically block robocalls – per your level of risk.
The paid version allows you to create a personal robocall block list. This also gives you access to the robocall risk meter/spam number lookup, and more!
T-Mobile has “Scam ID” (free), “Scam Block” (free), “Name ID ($4 monthly/subject to change).
How It Works
While T-Mobile’s Scam ID and Scam Block are both helpful, if you also want to use “Name Block”, it will cost an additional $4 monthly.
Sprint has no free plans, but they do have “Premium Caller ID” ($2.99 monthly/subject to change).
How It Works
According to a press release, directly from Sprint, The Sprint Premium Caller ID app displays robocallers’ category and fraud risk level – there are three categories and three different risk levels of low, medium and high. You will see it displayed on your handset if an incoming call is from robocallers, spammers, or Caller ID spoofs. Then, the decision about whether to answer calls is in your hands.”
While some individuals seem to receive robocalls rarely, others receive multiple calls daily. Even if you’re lucky enough to not be on the spammer’s frequent call list, everyone with a landline or cell phone will receive a scam or robocall eventually. If and when it happens to you, know that you are not alone and take action.
First, never share private or financial information over the phone. If someone sounds legitimate, hang up and call back the correct number for that company or organization, after verifying it through Google or in your phone book.
Next, make it part of your safety practice to use online reverse phone lookup for any suspicious calls. These even include one ring calls, which might be scammers or robocallers hoping you call them back. Also, if you receive a legit voicemail message or a number appears local, it still might still be a scam.
At Social Catfish you can search name, number, reverse image lookup, and much more. Don’t guess or hope for the best know who is calling you and don’t let a robocall make a sucker out of you and your wallet!