Americans are receiving approximately 5 billion calls every month from phone numbers that are not stored in their contacts.
Americans are receiving approximately 5 billion calls every month from phone numbers that are not stored in their contacts. This is a lot of wasted time and energy, as you have to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that it could be a spam call before answering the phone. Also, people who get these types of calls often end up spending money on
or allow them to screen calls before answering them.
It's not just humans doing the calling, either.
Robocalls are not just limited to humans. They are also used by other bots and automated software programs. These machines can call you on your landline phone, or even send you messages through the Internet or social media platforms like Facebook Messenger and Skype. They may even be able to get into your contacts list!
Robocalls are often used for scams that try to trick people out of money; for example, telling them about a "confidential" deal (like a prize drawing) that requires a credit card number first before they can claim their winnings. They're also used to sell fake products—like anti-aging creams that don't work—or stolen personal information and identity theft schemes.
The Federal Communications Commission is aware of the issue.
is aware of this issue and is working to stop these calls. The FCC has previously taken action against illegal robocallers, including obtaining court orders that resulted in the shutdown of companies responsible for billions of illegal calls.
The agency has also worked with phone companies to block incoming calls from known bad actors or those who don’t follow the rules set by our Caller ID spoofing laws.
People are more likely to be targeted by spam callers if:
People who are older, as older people are more likely to be targeted by scam artists.
People with less education, as they may be less aware of scams and how they work.
People who have a home phone and/or landline in their house, as these types of phones make it easier for the scammers to call you because they can easily find your number online. This is also true if you have a mobile phone that connects through your home's landline or internet service provider (ISP).
If you do have both types of phones listed above—a landline and a mobile phone—your risk increases even further since the scammers can get both numbers from one listing online (like Google Voice).
How to avoid picking up scam calls.
Don't answer calls from unknown numbers.
Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize.
Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes." The scammer will record your voice, then use it to authorize unwanted charges on your accounts and bills.
If you receive a call from someone asking you questions like "Is this Amy?" or "Are you the owner of this phone number?" hang up immediately. Do not say anything at all, and do not provide any personal information. These are common tactics used by scammers to get people to engage in the call and reveal more information than they may realize they are sharing. The scammer will then use that information to authorize unwanted charges on your accounts and bills.
The same goes for caller ID: The name or number shown may not be truthful, so don't trust it blindly! Instead, make sure you verify who is calling before picking up the phone by speaking with them directly or asking for a callback number that's safe for you to use (like an office line).
As mentioned above, scammers often pretend they're from companies like Apple or Google when trying to trick consumers into giving up their personal data or authorizing fraudulent purchases—don't believe them! If something seems off about the way a company representative is speaking with you (for example if they're using slang terms), ask them some basic questions about their company until they prove themselves!
If you pick up the phone and realize it's a robocall, hang up immediately. Do not press any buttons, enter any information or trust anything the caller says to you. If a call seems suspicious or asks for personal details — like your Social Security number or bank account information — never give it to them.
Don't respond to threats from spammers either; if they call again threatening to cause damage if you don’t pay them money, hang up and block their number if possible (make sure that this option is available on your phone). Do not give out personal information such as credit card numbers or bank account information over the phone unless it’s from an official representative of your bank or credit card company calling about an issue where fraud has taken place on your account(s).
Do not give out social security number(s) when asked by anyone over the phone unless it's directly linked to an investigation involving criminal activity that involves your SSN specifically (for example: identity theft).
Install a spam call blocker app to let the app stop the potential spam calls before ringing. Most spam call blocker apps have a big spam caller database to help them identify spam calls quickly.
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