Robo calls have become a constant annoyance to most of us. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) reports that robo calls have become their number one consumer complaint. FCC rules govern auto-dialed and prerecorded telemarketing calls to your wireless number, but the rules are notoriously ignored and it is difficult to catch the offenders because many of these calls come from scammers. An infamous example is the call from someone pretending to be an IRS agent, claiming that you owe back taxes and threatening legal action if you don’t pay (with store gift cards, no less!). The FCC reports this scheme has netted more than $54 million from unwary and intimidated victims. Don’t let yourself become one of them!
• First and foremost, if you receive a suspicious or intimidating call or a robo or telemarketer call, JUST HANG UP.
• Don’t give your wireless phone number to anyone you don’t know.
• Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
• If you do answer, don’t press a number to “opt out,” as this is a scheme that makes you a target for further calls. Just hang up.
• Don’t answer “yes” to a caller’s questions. Your answer can be recorded and used as evidence that you agreed to do business with their company and that you authorized charges to your credit card or other account.
• Apps like Truecaller and Robokiller can be downloaded to protect your smartphone by identifying legitimate calls and blocking robo calls.
• You can also block calls yourself on your smartphone once you have received an unwanted call.
• List your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. If your number is registered and you get unwanted calls, report them.