ROBOCALLS - Is There Hope?
(from Kendal at Home Blog, July 16, 2019)
Definition of a robocall: “a telephone call from an automated source that delivers a prerecorded message to a large number of people” (Merriam-Webster.com)
If you have a phone, then you’ve almost certainly received unwanted robocalls. In May 2019 alone, there were approximately 4.7 billion of these calls made in the United States. AAPR.org breaks this down even further to provide some startling context:
- Nearly 153 million of these calls every single day of the month.
- Almost 6.4 million calls every hour.
- Nearly 1,800 calls every single second.
Federal Communications Commission Tips
The FCC offers these tips to help consumers avoid the hassle of telemarketing and other unwanted calls.
1. Do not answer calls from an unknown phone number. Wait to see if the caller leaves a message and what kind of message it is. Just because caller ID shows a local number doesn’t mean it’s actually from a local caller.
2. If you answer a call and it’s an unwanted robocall, don’t respond to any questions, especially those that require a “yes” response. Instead, simply hang up.
3. If you do speak to someone, do not give out any personal information, such as your Social Security number, account numbers, passwords and so forth. If the caller claims to be from a governmental agency or company, hang up and call the phone number provided in the phone book, on the appropriate website, or on a bill or statement you have. This allows you to verify the authenticity of the call.
4. You can sign up for the Do Not Call Registry, a service of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that focuses on weeding out telemarketing calls. You can also file a complaint about an abusive call.
5. Major wireless carriers provide apps that block spam calls and/or provide the ability to list phone numbers as suspicious so you don’t answer them in the future. In the past, these typically came with a charge but are increasingly becoming free. Now, thanks to an FCC announcement, these may simply become part of your overall wireless service. There are also third-party apps that can block a phone number, and ConsumerReports.org provides information that can help you block unwanted robocalls. None of these strategies will completely block robocalls that are illegal, but this more concerted effort should help reduce the number of them and give you tools to help prevent them in the future.