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Harris-Courage & Grady, PLLC April 12, 2017

Robocalls can range from just merely irritating to very dangerous scams. It’s likely that you receive one or more robocalls every day. Robocall systems can automatically generate thousands of random phone numbers, and your number can be on the list.

Some robocalls are just recorded sales messages, but others have crooks on the other end of the line, just waiting for you to answer. Don’t be fooled by these callers! Learn to protect yourself and your money.

Follow These Strategies to Avoid Being a Victim of Robocall Scams:

  1. Learn about the common scams and protect yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is your tool to protect your personal information. Robocall scams often fall into common trends and categories. You can research these trends and learn to avoid them. For example, some robocalls claim you owe money to the IRS. This is a very common scam. The IRS will not call you about taxes owed without first mailing you a bill. They will also not accept gift cards as payment for taxes. Learn about the current trends so you can avoid them.

  2. Understand spoofing. Spoofing is when scammers fake the phone numbers you see on caller ID. Unfortunately, caller ID isn’t enough to protect you. If you receive a call that looks like it is from a legitimate business after regular business hours, be very careful. Don’t give out personal information, and call the business during their regular hours to ask if the call was legitimate.

  3. Don’t press numbers. If you pick up the phone and hear a recorded telemarketing message, then don’t press any buttons on your phone. By pressing a phone button, you’re letting their computer systems know that a person has heard their message. They’ll use this information to keep calling you at the same time and try to get your private data. Don’t press a button to select the option of talking to a live agent, or to “get off the call list.” They’ll continue calling you and harassing you. The best option is to hang up the phone.

  4. Consider signing up on the National Do Not Call Registry. You can sign up your home phone, cell phone, or both at gov. The Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls, but you may still receive political calls, charitable calls, or telephone survey calls. If you receive sales calls after signing up with the Do Not Call Registry, you will know that the call is a scam. Legitimate companies will stop calling because they can be fined up to $16,000 per call.

  5. File a complaint with the FTC. The FTC pursues companies that make robocalls. It can sue them, fine them, and stop them from calling you and other consumers. You can make your complaint at gov.

  6. Use your cell phone’s blocking features. Your cell phone may have special features that let you block calls. You can also download a free app that blocks robocalls, such as Hiya.

Don’t become a victim of a robocall scam. If you feel uncertain about the legitimacy of a call, just hang up. If it’s a legitimate business, you will always be able to call again later. Learn to protect yourself and stay safe.