If you’re getting barraged with unwanted calls from unknown numbers, you’re not alone.
Phone scammers and election season autodialers are running wild and it’s driving millions of Americans crazy. Here are 5 ways you can begin to put an end to phone scams and robocalls, for good.
1. Sign-Up for a Robocall Alert Service
Multiple carriers such as AT&T and Verizon offer services that aim to protect their customers from unwanted robocalls. T-Mobile, for example, offers automatic scam protection in the form of caller ID services that warn you if a call is coming from a suspicious source.
Most of the services appear to be free, but carriers often will charge a few dollars to block the calls from even hitting your phone (so you don’t have to be bothered in the first place).
Check with your carrier to see which options are available.
2. Run a Reverse Phone Lookup
The easiest way to identify who’s calling you is to enter the mystery number into a people search engine and to perform what’s called a “reverse phone lookup.” You might be able to get a full name, age, address and more. If you still don’t recognize the person, you can run a quick search on the name itself to get a full report that should include more information.
Along those same lines, you can download a reverse phone lookup app that combs through billions of white pages records and online telemarketer databases to identify unknown callers and block them for good.
Also, be aware: robocallers often can “spoof” their call location to match your area code. This is done to cover their tracks and make you think it’s someone you know calling you. Don’t fall for it!
3. Sign-Up for the Do Not Call Registry
While the effectiveness of the Do-Not-Call Registry is hotly debated, it’s still not a bad idea to add your name to the list. Doing so should certainly reduce the number of unwanted calls you’re getting, but it likely won’t put an end to them. After all, phone scammers and robocall spoofers are a clever bunch.
4. File a Complaint
This may seem somewhat pointless if you’re getting harassed non-stop, but filing a complaint with the FCC is a good way to add your name to the list of millions pushing the federal government to take more aggressive action to stop robocalling.
Be sure to include all available information on the call, including the number, the content of the automated message and anything else that could help.
5. Don’t Answer!
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that you should never answer a call from a number you don’t recognize, even if it does look legit. It’s the fact that some people do answer and respond that keeps the calls going.
If you do happen to pick up, remember that you can easily avoid 99% of phone scams by following one simple rule: don’t ever share sensitive information over the phone with a caller you don’t know.
If it is indeed a robocall playing a pre-recorded message, hang up immediately and don’t respond if they give you a menu of choices – even if they give you an “option” to prevent further calls (this is another trick to get your name and number on a marketing list).
Hopefully robocalls become a thing of the past sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can rest a lot easier with help from a few apps and a little common sense.