Robocalls have become pervasive in recent years, with many people receiving multiple unwanted calls each day. These calls can be a nuisance at best and a serious threat to your personal information at worst.
While the government has implemented several measures to combat robocalls, scammers constantly find new ways to get around these efforts. In this article, we'll explore why you may be receiving so many robocalls, how to protect yourself, and why it's crucial to stay vigilant when answering calls from unknown numbers.
Whether you're looking to stop robocalls on your personal smartphone or you’re a business owner seeking to stay focused on the task at hand, these tips can help you reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive and protect your personal information from scammers.
Robocalls are telephone calls that use an automated system to dial numbers and play pre-recorded messages to the person who answers. These calls can be made to landlines or mobile phones and are used for various purposes, from political campaigns and customer service messages to unwanted spam and fraudulent scams.
Robocalls are typically inexpensive to produce and sometimes target specific groups of people based on demographics, location, and other factors. While there are legitimate businesses using robocalls for professional reasons, most of these calls are made by scammers looking to trick people out of their money or personal information.
There are many reasons why you might receive a robocall from an unknown number. Here are a few potential explanations:
Answering calls from unknown numbers is one of the primary reasons you might receive robocalls and other unwanted calls. Scammers use automated systems to call large numbers of people and determine which numbers are likely to answer. In doing so, they create a list of warm leads and target those numbers with a higher frequency. Answering one of these calls signals to the scammers that your number is active and worth targeting.
The next call might come from a different number with a real person on the other line who is trying to scam you. Unfortunately, many people fall for these scams and provide their personal information.
The act of purchasing and selling phone number lists is often referred to as "list brokering." In some cases, legitimate businesses may use these lists to contact potential customers, while in other cases scammers may use them to perpetrate fraud or scam individuals out of their money or personal information.
Most of the time, scammers pose as professionals who present an opportunity. They may have some tidbit of information about you they can use to try and get more information. Legitimate businesses and organizations, however, are only allowed to use these lists with proper consent from the consumer and when following specific laws.
Your phone number may also be publicly available if you have provided it to contests, surveys, or registries, or listed it online in any capacity. Once your number is in the wrong hands, it can be sold or used for promotional purposes by scammers. These individuals may pose as nonprofits or other organizations to trick you into giving them your personal information.
If you’re receiving a disproportionate amount of unwanted robocalls, it may be because:
Seniors are a group that is often targeted by scammers, particularly in the event they share their information in one of the ways listed above. However, no matter your age, scammers will target anyone they can gain access to.
While robocalls have been around for years, they have escalated in recent years for several reasons. For one, technological advancements have made it easier and cheaper for scammers to make automated calls to large numbers of people. They can now use sophisticated software to generate phone numbers and even spoof legitimate ones to make their calls appear more trustworthy.
For another, scammers have become more creative in their tactics and use a wider variety of approaches to trick people into providing their personal information. As a result, robocalls have become a pervasive problem affecting people from all walks of life. According to Robokiller, Americans received a record 78 billion robocalls in 2022 and lost $65 billion in the process.
Many people wonder why the government hasn't been able to stop robocalls. The truth is, it's a complex issue that involves multiple stakeholders and technological challenges.
While the government has implemented several initiatives to address the problem, including the Do Not Call Registry and the TRACED Act, scammers are constantly seeking ways to get around these measures. Additionally, many of these calls originate from overseas, making it difficult for U.S. authorities to track down the perpetrators.
The good news is, ongoing efforts to combat robocalls such as the aforementioned TRACED Act — which gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) more power to enforce robocall regulations and requires phone companies to implement call blocking technologies — do help. The government has also shown an ability to shut down prominent scams.
Nonetheless, robocalls are still a very real threat.
If you're tired of receiving robocalls and want to take action to reduce their frequency, there are several steps you can take.
One of the most effective ways to reduce robocalls is to use a call blocker app like Robokiller. These services can help decrease the number of unwanted calls you receive by identifying and blocking calls before they reach you.
Robokiller is built on predictive technology that can identify scammers and stop them before they cause harm. We'll provide more information about the app below.
Besides call blocking apps, phone carriers may also offer features for free or for a small fee, so be sure to check with your carrier to see what’s available.
Another important step to reduce robocalls is to be cautious when providing your phone number online. Only give your number to trusted sources such as established businesses or organizations you have a working relationship with.
If you participate in online contests, surveys, or sign up for newsletters, be sure to carefully read the fine print and opt out of any marketing communications or third-party sharing of your information. Additionally, if you list your number online for any reason, such as on social media or a public directory, be aware that it may be available to scammers and telemarketers.
You should also consider adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. The FCC maintains this registry and helps to reduce the number of telemarketing calls people receive.
It's important to note, however, that this registry won't stop all robocalls since scammers simply don't care about laws or regulations. If you receive an unwanted call, report it to the FCC so they can investigate and act against the offending party.
Finally, being vigilant is critical when answering calls from unknown numbers. If you receive a robocall, don't answer it or engage with the caller in any way. If you do answer a call and suspect it may be a scam, hang up immediately and report the call to the FTC. Never provide personal information, such as your social security number, credit card information, or passwords to unknown callers.
By taking these steps, you can help reduce your risk of falling victim to robocall scams and protect your personal information from fraudsters.
If you want a comprehensive solution to your robocall problem, download Robokiller. Our app uses advanced predictive technology to analyze every incoming call you receive in a split second before your phone even rings. If it determines the call is spam, it will automatically block it or even answer it with a pre-recorded message that wastes the caller's time.
Robokiller also uses audio fingerprinting to identify spoofed spam calls and ensure they won’t reach you or any other Robokiller user. Additionally, the app offers a variety of customizable settings such as customizable block and allow lists.