Scammers Are Making a Comeback in a Big Way
The best way to handle legitimate callers from robocallers is to send them to a voicemail. Sadly the phenomenon of “screening” phone calls has returned in the caller ID age.
Spam calls have reached record highs. According to New York Magazine reports, 62 billion robocalls were made in 2019. 324 million were affected by these spam calls and each person had to endure an average of 12 calls for just that month! This number has almost doubled since the 2.5 billion robocalls that were reported in April. In a matter of months, robocallers have increased by 48%. If you are getting spammed by robocallers, you’re clearly not alone.
These con artists have weaseled their way into people’s pocketbooks by claiming they represent donation centers in wake of national tragedies. The safest way to handle a number you do not know is to not answer. These robocallers and con artists will often try to get personal information out of you if you do answer the phone or try to get you to pay for charges that you never made.
The spam and robocalls have gotten so bad that the Federal Communications Communications have issued a warning stating that when calls ask simple yes or no questions, you should not answer them. The spam callers will record your voice saying yes and will use it against you for fraudulent charges.
Technology has made it very easy and cheap for spammers to enter into a once legitimate market. In addition to the ease of access, law enforcement is unable to keep up as there are too many scam phone calls being made each day. The FCC has even created their very own Robocall Strike Force to fight this outrageous rise in scam phone calls. The strike force is currently working on a new technology that will be able to identify where the robocalls are coming from so that they can eventually stop them in their tracks.
Here are a few tips to protect yourself from scammers:
Do Not Give Out Your Personal Information
If an unknown caller asks for your name, social security number, or your birth date do not give it to them. No matter who they claim to be, if you are unsure about the phone call it is best to just hang up the phone or excuse yourself from staying on the line.
Screen Your Calls
If you do not know the number that is calling you, don’t answer it. If it is an important phone call you’re waiting on, then they will leave you a voicemail and you can return their call right away. Make sure that you’ve cleaned out your virtual voicemail box so you can screen calls because most spammers won’t bother to leave a message.
Because these scammers are interested in getting your voice on record, it is best not to engage in a conversation with anyone you do not know from a number you do not trust. Never say the word “yes” because scammers can use your voice recording against you in unauthorized credit card charges.
Register Your Number
If you haven’t already, register your phone number at DoNotCall.gov to stop marketers from getting your number. It should take effect within a few weeks.
Double Check Your Accounts
If you believe that you may have answered a scammer’s phone call, check with your bank right away and see if there have been any charges that you did not authorize. If your bank or credit card refuses to refund any unfamiliar charges demand that you get proof if they say you already approved the charge. If all else fails you can contact the Federal Trade Commission.
Block Numbers Through Your Providers
If you use a telephone service through AT&T or another large chain provider they may provide a service that automatically blocks spam phone calls. These services are usually already available to you and you won’t have to pay an extra fee. You will simply have to activate them.
Block Numbers Through An App
If your telephone provider does not offer anything to protect you against scammers, there are certain apps for iOS and Android that block unwanted phone calls. Some of them are free and some cost just a nominal fee, which is very much worth it to have the reassurance.