The “Do Not Call” registry (or do not call list) was established in 2003 with the goal to stop companies from calling you and making a sales pitch. However, if you’ve added your name to the list, it won’t stop you from getting robocalls, which are often sent to dozens to millions of phone numbers all at once. Americans received almost 30 billion robocalls last year alone, but the number continues to grow year after year.
Robocalls are some recorded messages sent to you by fraudsters and scammers trying to trick you into giving them your personal information so they can steal money from you. Recorded messages sent by local politicians and charities are allowed, but others are illegal scams. Unfortunately, there are millions of robocall scams targeting Americans, which makes them hard to avoid. Here are 10 ways you can stop robocalls.
- Don’t answer numbers you don’t recognize. Tell your friends and family you get too many robocalls, and to text you or leave you a voicemail if they need to contact you from an unrecognized number. Change your voicemail recording to let people know you will not call them back if they call from an unrecognized number and do not leave a voicemail.
- Save important phone numbers. Before you leave somewhere important like the pharmacy or doctor’s office, ask what phone number you can expect if you get a call from them. Save this in your phone so you don’t feel compelled to answer unrecognized numbers.
- Don’t speak. If you answer a call from an unrecognized number, don’t say anything–not even “hello.” Wait to see if a recording starts playing. If ones does, hang up.
- Don’t fall for “spoofing.” Spoofing is when a scammer calls you from what appears to be a local number. In fact, scammers can even use your phone number to make robocalls to another person. Even if the number looks local, don’t answer unless you recognize it.
- Password protect your voicemail. If you’re able to do so, set up a password for your voicemail. If a robocall spoofs your phone number, the scammer can get into your voicemail and steal sensitive information which may be stored in it.
- Just hang up. Some robocallers will end their pitch with an option to press a number and decline future calls. This is usually a trick to get you to consent to more harassment. Never, ever do what a recorded message tells you to do, especially saying “yes” to anything.
- Don’t trust calls from government agencies. If you receive a call from a person or recording claiming to be with Medicare, Social Security, or another government agency, don’t believe it. Most government agencies will never contact you by phone, and they will never, ever ask for your personal information like Social Security number or bank account number. Hang up on these callers and call the number listed on the agency’s official government website to verify the agency was not trying to contact you.
- Use call-blocking services. Mobile carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint offer call-blocking services on both Android and iPhone devices. These free services will alert you if a number appears to be a robocall. These carriers also offer services that will automatically block robocalls for a small monthly subscription fee. Other robocall-blocking services with free and for-a-fee options include YouMail and truecaller.
- Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list. While the do not call list can’t do anything to prevent criminals like scammer and fraudsters from calling you, it will prevent legitimate companies from calling you with sales pitches.
- Report the number. While the do not call list won’t prevent robocalls, you can still report the phone number to the FTC to stop this number from calling you and hopefully anyone else in the future.
Following these tips will reduce the amount of calls you get and keep you safe from being entangled in a scam. Follow us on facebook for more on Medicare scams and the latest Medicare news.