Spam robocalls have become more common in recent years. Scammers intentionally change the name or number displayed as Caller ID when they call. Often, this is done to trick you into answering the phone by imitating the name of a real company or individual. If you receive spam robocalls, your best bet is to not answer them. If you answer the phone, scammers will think your number is “good” even if you aren’t necessarily being scammed. They will try again because they know the other party is a potential victim of fraud. The fewer you answer, the fewer automated calls you will receive. However, the difficulty lies in knowing when a call is a robocall and whether the robocall is a scam robocall.
What does a Robocall Want from You as You Answer It?
The purpose of every robocall scam is to grab your money.
Robocall scams are designed to take your financial data and use it to steal your information, or they can be designed to check if your number is valid and if you are a convenient target for further spam calls. In any case, the caller wins. Even if they only need to confirm that the number is valid, they can sell your number to fraudulent businesses for thousands of dollars. Some reports estimate that robocall scams cost tens of billions of dollars, so you shouldn’t be surprised that robocalls are becoming a daily activity. Plus, many phone scams trick people by impersonating legitimate businesses.
What Should You Do When a Robocall Comes?
You can minimize your risk of being scammed by the following tips below:
Hang up the call as soon as it is found to be an automated call.
The less you get involved, the better. If you speak or react, you may be marked as “live” and you will be subject to more of those calls.
Avoid saying yes as much as possible.
Many robocall scams start with a question like “Hello, can you hear me?” People might answer “yes” without thinking. They can then store your confirmation record and use it for fraudulent activity. Therefore, avoid saying “yes” as much as possible.
Avoid following the robot’s instructions.
Robocalls sometimes prompt you to take action, such as “Press 1 to speak with a live representative” or “Press 2 to unsubscribe,” etc. Following the instructions, you confirm to the robocall that you are a potential victim and invite more robocalls. Try to avoid taking any action.
Report the phone number.
In the United States, you can report robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission at donotcall.gov. By reporting the number that appears on your Caller ID, you can help the FTC track down the scammers behind the calls. The FTC obtains your reported phone number and releases it to the public every business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners working on call-blocking solutions. The reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind the illegal calls.
Proceed with caution.
The damage robocall scams can do is enormous. Even if they don’t get your credit card information, they will waste your time. Exercise cautions every time you see an unknown caller ID. If a business calls you, you can hang up, find their contact number on their website, and call them back to check if the call is legitimate.
Why Can’t Phone Companies Stop Robocalls?
So why don’t carriers block them outright? In fact, carriers won’t shut it down unless it’s absolutely proven illegal. Carriers want to divert calls, not actively regulate calls. The reason is clear: if a debt collector is automatically calling someone, and the recipient might see it as a nuisance, it’s definitely legal. They want to stay out of it. Pharmacies may be contacting patients via automated calls about their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, and if carriers block it, it will be a hell of a payout. Carriers avoid interference in gray areas and only block gateway carriers or callers when there is enough ground, usually through federal action to crack down on bad actors.
How to Stop Robocalls?
The National Do Not Call Registry is a database maintained by the U.S. federal government that lists phone numbers for individuals and households who ask telemarketers not to contact them. Federal law requires certain callers to comply with this requirement. There are two ways to add your number to the Do Not Call list, and registration is free. You can visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you want to register. After registering, you will receive an email with a link you need to click within 72 hours to complete the registration.
The FTC’s website offers another option that can help you a lot – you can report illegal robocalls and help yourself and others. In the “Report Unwanted Calls” section of the Do Not Call website, you can leave the caller’s phone number or the phone number they want you to call back.
Stop Robocalls on iPhone (iOS 12+)
- Step 1. Tap Settings at the bottom of the screen.
- Step 2. Tap Block/Allow List.
- Step 3. Tap the Allow tab.
- Step 4. Tap Add to Allow list and enter the range or number you wish to block moving forward.
- Step 5. Tap “Allow“.
Stop Robocalls on Android
- Step 1. Download any mobile phone manager software and open the software.
- Step 2. After entering, open the security protection, find the harassment blocker, and click to enter.
- Step 3. After turning on the harassment blocking function, click the setting icon in the upper right corner to enter the setting interface of the mobile phone.
- Step 4. On the setting interface, find the blacklist and click to enter.
- Step 5. After turning on the blacklist function, click Add, then select Add by Region, and enter the province or area code.
Stop Robocalls via an App
RealCall is a tool focused on blocking spam calls and text messages for iOS and Android. Based on a powerful number base and iterative blocking rules, it can effectively block 99% of robocalls, scam calls, marketing calls, and of course spam text messages. No matter what type of spam you receive, RealCall is always there for you and handles it for you. RealCall uses advanced blocking technology to help get ahead of spammers before answering unknown calls. Additionally, RealCall constantly upgrades its blocking rules based on trending spam, neighbor spoofing, scams, pranks, telemarketers and other unwanted text messages we collect in real time. RealCall provides every user with extra security and added protection from scammers while enjoying protection and peace.