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The Dangers of Robo/Spam Calls and How to Identify Them


Automated calls can come from a variety of companies as well as hackers. It might seem like an unnecessary step beyond just hitting “decline,” but it’s beneficial to take any measures possible to eliminate these frustrating calls from the get go. First of all, be sure to add yourself to the Do Not Call List. You can add your mobile or landline phone number to this list for free in order to block your phone from getting unwanted calls.

“What if I am still getting these calls?” Be cautious when filling out online forms that ask for your phone number. That’s one way a company gets permission to call your phone trying to sell you their product or maybe even get more of your information without you even realizing. The only way a telemarketing call or informational call can be made to your phone is if the person/company has permission from you. One way robots are tricking people into giving them permission to call now is the “Can you hear me now?” trick. If you answer yes, they take that recording of you saying “yes” as permission to spam your phone.

“How are they so good at tricking me?” Now hackers have a tactic called spoofing, which is a major way to infiltrate personal information via calls. Companies and hackers can have their caller ID information present something different on your phone so that you don’t automatically think it is just another telemarketer trying to take your information. They can even create a fake number using your area code so it looks more believable and allows for a better chance of you picking up.

In order to help yourself and others from getting scammed by these clever hackers, simply say, “ I do not consent to this call” and record the number that called you to report to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This way they can track down the telemarketing scammer to stop them from getting to anyone else.

Although the FCC has continuously tried to stop these hackers from scamming the general public, they still receive over 200,000 complaints a year from people who just want the spamming to stop. That is only the number of filed complaints per year; it’s reported that there are nearly 2.5 billion spam calls made every month. The FCC has increasingly been cracking down on illegal robocalling in the past year; fining a New Mexico company $2.88 million and a Florida resident $120 million for illegally calling people.

Remember, if you are unsure of who is calling you, do NOT give out any personal information. The hackers are getting more and more clever, making sure they call you with some excuse from an insurance company or maybe your child’s school to pull information out of you. An immediate telltale sign that you should not go through with the call is if it is an automated response on the other line. Some robots are getting so high-tech that they can sound like a real person. One robot by the name of Samantha West, would deny she was a robot, but could not answer a simple question like “what day of the week was it yesterday?” Other popular telemarketers claim they are with IRS and will demand money. Please remember the IRS never calls—they will send a registered letter with reason for contact and will give you instructions on how to handle the issue.

If you are suspicious about a call you have received, it is better to be safe than sorry. Hang up and call whatever company or person you believe was trying to call and confirm they are looking for what they had asked. If they have no idea what you are talking about, you saved yourself from having your personal information stolen.

Should you experience any spam calls regarding your FTC account or billing, please contact FTC at 888-218-5050.