How do you stop unwanted calls?
It’s probably your first thought if you’ve ever received a nuisance call from someone you didn’t want to hear from. And if you don’t immediately wonder how to stop them, you are definitely plotting ways to get revenge on whoever interrupted your busy day.
All types of unwanted calls have one thing in common: they are a continuous annoyance in our daily lives. They distract us from our families and friends, interrupt productive work days, and worst of all, try to steal our money or personal identity. More and more, we become less trustworthy of unfamiliar numbers calling due to the growing spam call issue – and as a result, we miss important updates from callers with good intentions, such as schools, doctors, and job offers.
Taking the time to learn how to stop spam calls the right way will truly make your life better. It will exponentially reduce your risk of telephone scams, save precious time wasted answering unwanted calls, and restore your sense of confidence when answering incoming calls. Here’s how we’ve mastered the trade:
Unwanted Calls 101: The Who, What, Why?
Stopping unwanted calls starts with understanding who is placing them and who is making money off of them. Unwanted spam calls fall into these categories:
Legal Robocalls: Automated telephone calls that deliver a recorded message. Companies and organizations are permitted to place robocalls without consent or opt-in from the recipient for urgent or extremely important updates only.
Illegal Robocalls: Any non-emergency robocall that you have not given written permission to receive is illegal. The FTC states, “…If the robocall recording is a sales message and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam.”
Telemarketing Calls: Marketing calls in which a salesperson from a legally registered business solicits prospective customers to buy products or services. This is also referred to as “cold calling”. According to the FTC, “…calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors are also permitted but must abide by the FCC rules for communicating to consumers over the phone.”
Scam Calls: Calls of which aim to steal your money, personal identity, or both. Scam calls are the most dangerous type of spam call and come in many forms, through a real person or robocall. The most well known is the IRS robocall scam. This scam has been reported to have collected nearly $14 million in fraudulent payments from unsuspecting consumers since 2013. Make sure to stay on the lookout for the top phone scams of 2017. See the list below:
Legal calls are more likely annoying than harmful, but scam calls are particularly dangerous. They often target the elderly and poor with fake sweepstakes, scare tactics, and other methods of harassment that can cheat people out of their wealth and reputations.
Consumers lose anywhere from a few dollars to their whole life savings each day to phone scams. Worst of all, the problem is showing no signs of slowing down. The best solution to avoid becoming a victim of a phone scam is to not answer any of these calls, but that can be difficult to do. We recommend employing technology to protect yourself, such as a third party spam call blocking app like RoboKiller.
There’s Are a Few Ways Unwanted Callers Can Get Your Number
There are many ways that your phone number can end up in the hands of an unwanted caller, but it is also very likely that your number was simply auto-dialed at random. Technology and organizations have found easy ways to scrape the internet and public databases for mobile and landline numbers and sell them to both legal and illegal spam callers. This is typically more a prominent issue for individuals who have their phone numbers listed publically, such as real estate agents and small business owners.
A good way to check if your phone numbers are publically available to others is to search them in Google or other search engines. You may find that your phone number is associated with social media profiles that are accessible to the public and easily scraped by call list collection companies.
Once your phone number is purchased or randomly dialed by a call center, you are entered into a large database and added to an unwanted caller’s list. The caller ensures their number is spoofed, meaning it shows a different number than the one they are actually calling from, before placing the call.
Answering the call increases the likelihood the problem will get worse by 40%. If the unwanted caller determines there is another person at the other end of the line, by requesting an opt-out or dialing a number, they will flag you as a hot number and the unwanted caller will continue to try to reach you at another time.
Source: FTC, How does a RoboCall Work?
Why Don’t Phone Carriers Stop These Unwanted Calls?
There are three basic reasons why phone companies have not done much to provide good spam filtering solutions to customers:
- Money. Understanding the economics of robocalls is the first step in solving the problem. Placing phone calls is inexpensive for telemarketers and robocallers; they can make millions of illegal calls at little cost and with almost no risk. Unfortunately, phone companies make money when they connect these calls to your phone. So unless their competitors are offering a better solution to stop nuisance calls, carriers have little incentive and money to lose by investing money to prevent these calls.
- Regulations. Telecommunications is highly regulated by the government to create competition and fairness, but this also slows down innovation and reduces the risks carriers are willing to take.
- It is not an easy problem to solve. The phone network is a complex web of carriers and solutions providers. Without cooperation, it is difficult to stop these calls; especially from calls originating overseas.
New laws and new cooperation between the government, telecom companies, and third-party providers are hoping to improve the telemarketing and robocall situation, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Why Doesn’t the Do Not Call List Stop All Unwanted Calls?
The answer is simple: the Do Not Call List was not designed to stop unwanted calls. The Do Not Call List was created to allow consumers the option to “unsubscribe” from legal telemarketing and cold calls, not block scam and spam calls from illegal telemarketers and spammers. No scammer is every going to legally register with the FCC to place calls to your phone because they are well aware what they are doing is fraudulent.
However, many still believe that after receiving an unwanted call it is best practice to register their phone number on the Do Not Call List. This will certainly reduce the number of unwanted calls coming legal businesses, it definitely will not stop all your unwanted calls entirely.
Now, it’s not to say that the Do Not Call List won’t stop the legal unwanted calls you’re receiving, but those are not as problematic to your personal privacy and protection. While legal unwanted calls are definitely annoying, these legal business entities are not calling with the intention to steal your personal identity or money – scammers and spammers are.
Here’s How to Stop Unwanted Calls, For Good
The only way to stop unwanted calls for good is to stop them from ever reaching your phone. However, this can be difficult to accomplish considering the Do Not Call will help to stop only a small percentage of these calls and phone carriers still do not provide any effective solutions to block all of your unwanted calls. Because of this, smartphone apps are the best solution because they are equipped with real-time spam call detection and personal blacklisting tools designed to stop unwanted calls at the source.
Robokiller, the #1 robocall blocking app, is the best solution put an end to your unwanted call problem for good. RoboKiller not only provides spam protection against unwanted callers and in-real-time caller identification, but it actually gets on the phone to fight unwanted callers for you with our hilarious AnswerBots. On average, RoboKiller saves users 17 minutes of wasted time per week from unwanted calls by reducing unwanted calls by 85% in the first 30 days of activation. Start today!