Few things can be more annoying than answering the phone while you're in the middle of something. Unfortunately, illegal telemarketing calls have our phones ringing more than ever, costing victims of scammers millions each year.
How It Works
Scammers often leverage legal "robocall" technology unlawfully as a way to dial thousands of numbers at a time, looking for someone to pick up the phone so they can scam them out of their money or identity. A common tactic is "caller ID spoofing" which makes the call look like it's coming from a trusted source like your bank or a neighbor.
What You Should Know
At this time, there is no way to prevent all unwanted telemarketing calls. But here are some tips to reduce them and hopefully, protect you from scams.
What You Should Do
- Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers, and if you answer what sounds like a potential scam, hang up immediately. If a recorded message asks you to push a button to stop receiving calls, do not do so as it is likely a trick to identify potential targets. Just hang up.
- Avoid answering any personal questions asked by a stranger on the phone, especially if you're being asked to share account numbers, your Social Security Number, or your mother's maiden name, for example.
- If you receive a call from someone who says they represent a company or government agency, hang up and call the entity back - either at the number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on an official website.
- Register your number on the national Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov. The Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls, however you still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls. And, of course, scammers won't check the registry before they call you, so be ever mindful.