If it seems like you have been receiving more robocalls lately, it’s because you are. It was reported that Americans received an estimated 3.4 billion scam phone calls in April 2018, a huge increase over the previous year. Beyond the nuisance of spam phone calls and text messages, it is important to recognize the dangers, including theft, identity theft and malware. Here are some critical tips for limiting the number spam calls you receive and avoiding scams.
Never engage with a scammer or click on links in a spam text message. Pressing a button to speak with someone on a scam phone call or clicking on a link in a scam text message is asking for trouble. Links may lead to viruses and malware software that could infect your phone. Automated calls are also become more sophisticated, they may be programmed to sound like a real person and respond to what you say. The best thing to do is hang up the phone.
Check your smart phone settings. Most iPhones allow you to set your phone to do not disturb for any callers that are not already in your address book. This will send the caller straight to voice mail. Some Samsung and Google phones will alert you to a potential scam call. You should contact your carrier, most of the major carriers offer some tools to combat robocalls. If you receive repeated calls or texts you may also block them individually in from your phone.
Register for the Do Not Call List. U.S. residents may register by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register or by visiting donotcall.gov. Canadians may register at lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. Be sure to register both your land line and cell phone.
You may still receive some calls. Unfortunately, the worst scam robocall offenders just ignore the Do Not Call List and may call you anyway. The Do Not Call List is designed to stop unwanted sales calls. Any company you have done business with, legitimate debt collectors, political organizations and charities may still contact you. If you do not want to receive these calls ask them to remove you from their list and note the date and time of your conversation.
Report illegal sales calls. If you continue to receive sales calls after registering for the Do Not Call List, report the company. In the U.S. you may click here to report illegal sales calls. In Canada agents are available to take your call Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Toll-free: 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625). If you receive frequent calls from the same business contact your phone company and ask to block calls from their number.
Consider 3rd Party Apps. There are a number of apps currently on the market designed to filter robocalls. Some will make your phone appear out of service to numbers known to be associated with scam calls