I get them all the time and I know you do too. These calls
seem to have my phone ringing more than friends or family calling. We are not
alone! Nearly half the calls made to US cell phones in 2019 will be spam,
according to a study by First Orion referenced in a Federal Communications
Commission report. Lately around here we have seen con artists trying to get
people’s social security numbers, impersonating local detectives, and asking
for payments with gift cards.
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead
of a live person, it's a robocall. The Federal Trade Commission has seen a
significant increase in the number of illegal robocalls because
internet-powered phone systems have made it cheap and easy for scammers to make
illegal calls from anywhere in the world, and to hide from law enforcement by
displaying fake caller ID information. To date, the FTC has brought more than a
hundred lawsuits against over 600 companies and individuals responsible for
billions of illegal robocalls and other Do Not Call violations.
As a Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau, the main question I get from people about these calls, “how do I stop them?” The BBB has a few suggestions:
- Do Not
Call Registry. You can reduce the number of unwanted sales calls you get by
signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s free. Most legitimate
companies don't call if your number is on the Registry. If a company is
ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam.
Phone Apps or Features. There are apps that will help you block calls as
well as pop up warnings letting you know it may be a fraudulent call. Some may
come at a cost or some are free, these vary for each cell phone provider. Also,
you can use your Do Not Disturb to block all calls except those from selected
contacts, for some people this could be a huge help.
Don’t Answer and Block. The best thing to remember is, when you answer and
engage with a caller this can open you up to more calls. So, the best thing to
do is just not to answer if you don’t recognize the number and block that
number in your phone.
Ultimately you may not be able to stop all these calls but
following these steps will help. The frustrating calls may still come but
hopefully you will be better equipped and can ignore those that do get by.