If you’ve received an uptick of robocalls calls recently, you’re not alone. Robodialers are busier than ever. Likely related to Voice over Internet Protocol technology, mass calling and the ability to display fake caller ID information are both quick and inexpensive, making the calls easy for scammers. According to the Federal Communications Commission, nearly 2.4 billion robocalls are made every month.
But help is on the way. The nation’s four largest carriers all offer some form of robocall-blocking assistance service, and the telecom industry is currently testing a program that will authenticate calls. Those with certification will go through; those without will be flagged or blocked.
East Texas residents receive an average of 18 robocalls per day. With fraudsters finding more creative and deceptive ways for you to pick up your phone, these numbers continue to rise.
What is a robocall?
A call that uses a computerized autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message is a robocall. Some calls are legitimate, however many different scams also use robocalls, from bogus companies claiming to lower utility bills or credit card rates, government grants, vacation packages and calls from individuals posing as IRS agents.
The Better Business Bureau recommends the following to help spot and stop robocalls:
Use caller ID to screen calls. Consider not answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message and you can call back. But also know that you can’t always believe your caller ID. Keep in mind, however, scammers can spoof the phone numbers and names of legitimate companies on caller ID. If you never opted in to receiving calls from a company, hang up and report the number to the Do Not Call Registry.
Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry. To date, the FTC has brought more than a hundred lawsuits against more than 600 companies and individuals responsible for billions of illegal robocalls and other Do Not Call violations. There are harsh penalties for sellers and telemarketers who break the rules. While this certainly will not eliminate all calls, you will receive fewer marketing calls and it will be easier to identify the fraudulent ones. Call (888) 382-1222 or register online at donotcall.gov.
Hang up. If you answer a robocall, ignore recorded prompts to press digits on your telephone keypad to be taken off their calling list. If you press a key, it tells the scammers you have an active number. Your number will then be sold to other telemarketers and the frequency of calls will increase.
Don’t answer. You may consider not answering the phone at all. Allow the caller to leave a message, then decide whether or not to return the call.
For more tips on how to be a savvy business owner, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.