We’ve all been in that situation. When the phone screen lights up, we grab for it to see whether a friend or family member has texted us, only to discover… “Unknown Caller”. Ugh. It’s most likely another spam call.
Spam calls seriously disturb the life of numerous people. During the fiscal year 2021, the FTC received over 5 million Do Not Call complaints and the Registry included over 244 million active registrations.
So if weary of countless spam calls, please keep reading. There is everything a user needs to know about unwanted calls and how to avoid them.
What are Spam Calls?
Spam calls are irrelevant or inappropriate communications to numerous recipients – especially to those who have not expressed interest in getting calls. Their goal is to steal either your time or money.
There are several forms of phone calls that can be classified as spam calls.
Telemarketing calls are live direct marketing calls in which a salesperson from a legally registered company solicits prospective customers to purchase products or services. This is also known as “cold calling”.
Legal robocalls are automated phone calls that convey a recorded message to a receiver who has given their verbal or written authorization to hear it. They are always necessary. Flight cancellations, appointment reminders, school updates, and credit card fraud warnings are all examples of them.
Illegal robocalls are any non-emergency robocalls that you have not provided signed permission to receive is considered illegal. These unlawful calls might come from legitimate firms that aren’t following the rules, such as the Resort Marketing Group, or from criminal fraudsters posing as legitimate organizations in order to take your money.
Any person or entity pretending to be someone or something else in order to steal your money, personal information, or both. Phone scams cause people to lose a lot of money, sometimes their whole life savings.
Why are Spam Calls Such a Threat?
It is reported that the number of scam calls reached an all-time high in 2021 with a startling 21 billion scam calls logged, up from 9.8 billion the previous year. In 2021, it is estimated that Americans lost $40 billion to phone scams. Spam calls pose a significant risk to our precious time personal identity and sense of security. In other words, each of these calls isn’t intended to irritate you. Instead, they’re designed to steal something from you.
Why Traditional Methods of Blocking Spam Calls don’t Work?
Absolutely, we can always try blocking spam calls by the usual methods. As evidenced by data, however, they appear to have fallen behind fraudsters and robocallers. There are several reasons.
It’s impossible to avoid spam using only common sense.
Spam callers pretend to call from a phone number that’s different from their real phone number. The type of “neighbor” spoofing is one of the most common forms of telemarketing fraud, making it even more difficult to tell if a call is a spam or not. It’s also easy to forge the caller identification (caller ID) information that shows on these calls because of recent technological advancements. Many telemarketers are now spoofing their phone numbers so that calls appear to come from the same area code and local prefix as ours, in order to fool us into responding. We’re more likely to answer a local call. We speculate that it’s the auto shop calling about our car, our dentist calling to remind us of an appointment, or a restaurant phoning to confirm the reservation.
“Do Not Call” doesn’t fight illegal spam calls.
To avoid spam calls, the first action every consumer should do is to register their phone number with the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. At least, it cuts down on legitimate business cold-calling us, which provides one barrier of defense. But the amount of spam calls we receive makes it seem like we’re not on there at all. Because it only can prevent some spammers, but cannot block all of them. In other words, don’t expect this to be a one-size-fits-all answer.
Smartphone features won’t help us, either.
FTC has talked about the topic:“ Many mobile phones come equipped with features built into the device that can block calls from specific numbers. These features can let consumers block specific contacts, identify unwanted incoming calls for future blocking, and set ‘do not disturb hours. You must manage these lists on your own, and the device may limit the number of calls you can block.” It is highlighted that users have to manage these lists on their own. But spammers will just call you using different numbers. In other words, if a certain number never called before, it could reach you without warning.
According to the FCC, there are some easy steps you can take to help Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Avoid Phone Scams:
- Don’t answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
- Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
- Don’t assume an incoming call is really from a local number just because it looks like it is.
- Don’t respond to any questions that can be answered with a “Yes.”
- If someone calls you and claims to be with XYZ company, hang up and call the company yourself. Use the company’s website to find an official number.
- If you do answer a call and hear a recording such as, “Hello, can you hear me?” just hang up.
- The same goes for a call where you’re asked to press a number before being connected to a representative.
In addition to the remedies and tips listed above, it is critical to maintain vigilance. Do not be afraid to question the legitimacy of any phone call you receive. Besides, alert our friends and family about this form of fraud, especially older family members who are commonly targeted in scams. In a word, don’t let the spammers win.