There’s nothing more frustrating than picking up your phone and hearing the monotone voice of a pre-recorded message. Whether you were waiting for a call from a friend or simply answering to see who it was, getting a robocall is usually not a fun addition to your day. For many people, these types of calls can become a serious annoyance or even a true disturbance to the day and the use of your phone. Robocalls have become more and more commonplace, especially as telecommunications technology has evolved over the years.
At this point in time, almost everyone has a smartphone, and almost everyone’s phone number is on some call lists. It’s absolutely essential to recognize what robocalls are before you are able to combat them and stop the robocalls. The truth is that there is a wide array of options to stop robocalls once and for all. From paid subscriptions and private platforms, it’s easy to find ways to keep your phone free of all unwanted calls. All it takes is a little bit of research and a little bit of effort in order to make it happen.
However, the most important thing is to protect your private information, even if robocalls do happen. The annoyance of a phone call is nothing compared to the frustration of dealing with theft or even stolen identity. That’s why it’s best to start off with a solid understanding of the laws behind robocalls, why they exist, and how they function. Equipped with this knowledge, it will be easy to get rid of them safely.
10Find Out What They Are?
At first sight, you may think that the word robocall refers to any unwanted calls at all. However, robocalls are a specific type of phone call – different from the work of telemarketers or salespeople. First of all, calls from telemarketers and salesmen are completely legal and often quite useful. While you may not enjoy getting these types of calls either, they are a form of marketing that was developed for a reason.
On the other hand, there are robocalls. They are named for the fact that none of the callings is actually done by human employees. Rather, the calls are made by auto-dialers and then deliver pre-recorded messages as soon as a person answers the phone. The message may lead to a menu of options, urge the recipient to call another number or end with a connection to a human representative. It all depends on what the goal of the call is.
Sometimes, robocalls are legitimate and legal. It is a useful system for delivering important messages and emergency notifications. Many political campaigns have been known to make use of robocalls to spread their message. However, more often than not, robocalls are used by scammers and other frustrating sources. Many countries even have laws protecting against robocalls, but that doesn’t make them slow down. Robocalls are notoriously difficult to police and enforce. That’s why so many people have discovered the need to make the calls stop themselves. Without any control, some people experience incessant calls from the same numbers, unable to stop them.
9How Do Robocalls Function?
Many people get so frustrated with robocalls largely because they aren’t totally aware of how they work. It’s such a challenge to get them to stop because there are usually no humans involved. Computer programs and dialers make decisions about who gets calls. So, if your phone number is on a list, that could be why you’re receiving incessant calls. As long as the program is working, it’s next to impossible to make the calls stop from that end. That’s why it’s vital to take matters into your own hands and stop the calls on your end. By realizing that this is the only option, it becomes much easier to figure out some effective solutions.
Luckily, the way that robocalls function is also one of the main reasons that agencies are able to fight back against it. In the US, there have been several methods used to combat illegal robocalling. Most methods require proof that a caller is a person and not just an automated dialer with a recorded message. This is usually done with call authentication laws as well as CAPTCHAs, challenge-response tests that force callers to prove they are not robocalls.
However, the technology behind robocalls is also quite advanced and has shown many ways of getting around enforcement techniques. For example, it’s quite easy to spoof a caller ID, making it seem like a genuine contact from your phone or a real company. The phone may say your bank’s name, but the caller could actually be a scammer.
8Register Your Number
One of the first steps that you can take to avoid robocalls, among other forms of unwanted calls, is to register your number on your country’s Do Not Call list. Most countries have such a list in order to help citizens maintain their privacy and comfort. Essentially, the Do Not Call lists are compiled and transmitted to telemarketing companies, political campaigns, and other common sources of unwanted calling. This way, the groups are notified about the numbers they are not allowed to call.
By registering your number on the Do Not Call list, you are doing your due diligence as per the law and your country’s government. This way, you have expressed the fact that you do not want any calls. This is usually a good way to slow down the calls, but it may not bring them to a complete stop. Unfortunately, some studies have shown that Do Not Call lists aren’t totally effective.
Not to mention, there are some concerns about having all sorts of private information all compiled in one place. One of the biggest issues when it comes to robocalling enforcement is simply privacy. It’s difficult to manage the ins and outs of which numbers are real and which are not when telephone numbers are private information. Luckily, for many people, Do Not Call lists are a great way to at least lowering the number of unwanted calls they are receiving. There are easy ways to add your number to the lists online, or you can contact your phone carrier or landline provider to learn more about the Do Not Call list.
7Learn More About Privacy
The worst thing about robocalls by far is the fact that they are used to scam people. This is especially concerning for vulnerable demographics, like young children or older adults who may get fooled by the messages conveyed on the recorded message. Often, the calls warn people that their identity has been stolen or that their bank account has been breached, posing as an official institution. However, this is only a tactic to get access to your private information.
In the age of the smartphone and sharing everything online, privacy has become more important than ever. It’s essential to be aware of what’s going on in your devices and on the phone. Be protective of your personal information, especially things like your Social Security Number or your banking details. Accidentally divulging these things is easier than you might think. Luckily, there are some easy measures you can take in order to avoid breaches in privacy.
There are so many things you may already do on your smartphone that are eating away at your privacy and data safety. First of all, installing programs from the internet rather than from the official app stores opens your phone up to all kinds of invasions. The same goes for computers. It’s best to stick to reputable companies, programs, and applications. This can help you avoid malware being installed on your device. Once those apps are on your phone or computer, make sure you actually read the terms and conditions. Simply clicking “yes” on everything can leave the simplest of apps with access to almost everything on your phone.
6Try a Simple Subscription
If you’re experiencing serious challenges with robocalls constantly making your phone ring, the easiest way to avoid them might be by subscribing to a blocking service. The process behind stopping robocalls is actually quite complex – it involves tracking and blacklisting the numbers that are constantly calling.
First of all, this is difficult, because dialers and computer programs often call from a bunch of different numbers. Blocking one number may not significantly reduce the number of robocalls that you’re receiving. Secondly, it’s difficult to tell which numbers are legitimate and which are robocalls. There are complicated forms of technology at play here, and figuring out all the numbers by yourself would be seriously time-consuming.
That’s why there is robocall blocking subscription services out there, full of advanced technology and trained staff to get the job done for you. For just a couple of dollars a month, you can subscribe to such a service and have all robocalls or even telemarketing calls stopped. For busy people, or those who do not have time to tinker around with other solutions. This is a great option that isn’t too expensive. Not to mention, it gives you access to an incredibly large database of information that you would not have access to on your own. No matter how diligently you keep track of the robocalling numbers, there will always be more numbers out there. With a subscription service or the use of specific robocalling software, you can be protected from so many more known robocalling numbers.
5Use a Different Phone App
There are many phone and communications apps with built-in robocall blocking software. By switching over to one of these apps, or using an app to block robocalls to your phone, the number of unwanted calls you receive can be significantly reduced. There are many featured apps, some of which are free and some of which have one-time fees or subscription fees. It’s a good idea to do some research and check out the different pros and cons of these apps and software.
Since the problem of robocalling has been around for quite some time, many apps and software have come onto the market to help people deal with it. You Mail is one example, a software that helps to block out known scamming numbers and blacklisted robocalling sources. Truecaller is an app that gives people access to a crowd-sourced network of known robocalling numbers to the blacklist. However, this app requires you to provide a whitelist. A whitelist is a list of the confirmed contacts you have, which helps Truecaller to confirm whether robocallers are using Caller ID spoofing.
There is one more well-known app that combats against robocalling, Nomorobo. It’s important to do some research and decide whether or not you want to provide your contact information to a third-party service like these apps. There are risks involved with having private information all compiled, and it’s crucial to read all of the terms and conditions when working with one of these apps. Ensure that your data will not be shared unless you’re aware of it.
Don’t forget about the difference between telemarketing and robocalls! It’s important to be wary of who is calling you and certainly defensive of your personal information. However, there is a difference between an illegal robocall or scam attempt and a telemarketing employee simply trying to get their job done. While telemarketing calls may feel just as annoying to you, they are actually incredibly simple to stop.
Most telemarketing companies have the option to remove certain numbers from their calling lists. If you yell at the telemarketer on the other end of the line or simply slam the phone down – chances are that you will receive another call. However, if you ask politely to be removed from the calling list, chances are that the employee will do so. Many people easily forget that there is a very big difference between telemarketing and scamming. However, there are many easy ways to analyze the content of a call and figure out exactly what the deal is.
First of all, any calls with automated messaging or recorded messages should be viewed very warily. If there is a real person on the end of the line, it’s much more likely that they are calling as a telemarketer. Next, be sure to report any number that asks for private information such as your banking details or Social Security Number. No reputable company would ask for such information openly and over the phone – not even a bank! If the person simply asks to know your name, this is more likely a sales tactic and a friendly attitude rather than a scam.
3Be Aware of the Law
Most countries have some sort of laws protecting citizens against unwanted calls and robocalls. However, one of the most significant problems with this is the sheer difficulty of enforcing it. It’s a good idea to be aware of the ins and the outs of the robocall and unwanted phone call laws in the United States, though. Reporting phone numbers who are causing you significant problems can help law enforcement get to the root of the problem. Not to mention, it can help phone companies and blocking service identify more and more of the numbers that should be blacklisted.
In the US, there have been so many different commissions and forces at work to stop robocalling. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission Declaratory Rulings decided to put a lot more focus on the issue of robocalling since they received thousands of complaints about the issue. However, each state has different ways of enforcing and addressing the issue.
In California, no robocalls are allowed unless the caller already has a relationship with the recipient. For example, your bank could send you a recorded message, provided you have called them before and that it is your actual bank. Political robocalling is also given heavy guidelines in this state. Although recordings are allowed, a real person has to speak and introduce the nature of the call before the recording can be played. Many other states have similar requirements, only allowing the recording to be played after the recipient agrees with a live operator to hear it.
2Don’t Get Scared
No matter what a person or recorded message is telling you over the phone, it’s essential to have good judgment and not get convinced into doing anything you don’t want to do. Many people get so freaked out by the messages shared by robocalls that they divulge private information and give scammers exactly what they want. Keep in mind that the goal of a robocall is just that – to scare you enough or convince you enough that you willingly give up your private information.
No matter what the recorded message says, try to remember that banking institutions or government offices are always able to identify themselves clearly. Not to mention, real messages from these types of institutions usually don’t include fear-mongering or right-out asking for your personal information. If you’re concerned about a number that has been calling you, doing a simple internet search can actually relieve a lot of your fears. The issue of robocalling is now heavily crowd-sourced, and it may be easy to confirm with other people whether the number is real or not.
Another easy method of confirmation is calling your financial institution or local government office to ask about the specific number that is calling you. It’s possible that you are being contacted by a different branch of the bank or a different region’s governmental office. Keep in mind that if you don’t feel comfortable sharing information over the phone, even with a real institution, you can always do so in person as an alternative.
1Ask Your Phone Carrier
The problem of unwanted calls and robocalls has been heavily discussed in recent years, both among legislators and private businesses. Most phone carriers do their best to address the problem since it is a big one that affects their customers. It’s worth inquiring with your current phone carrier if there is anything they currently do in an effort to combat robocalls. Some phone carriers already have plans in place, while others may offer low-fee subscriptions built right into their service.
This way, you don’t have to deal with any additional companies, and you can be sure that the problem is being addressed by a reputable business. If you’ve dealt with frustrating robocalls in the past, or the problem seems to persist no matter what you do, it’s worth shopping around to find a phone carrier that addresses the issue specifically. Most major carriers in the United States have introduced some form of robocalling protection. Verizon and Sprint both announced their form of enforcement in 2016, something called Enhanced Caller ID.
With Enhanced Caller ID, carriers use several techniques of blocking robocalling all in one. Usually, this includes whitelisting, blacklisting, and crowdsourcing. A technology called Call Guardian is also used in order to analyze calls in real-time. This technology uses an analysis of behavior as soon as a recipient picks up the phone – checking to see if the caller is a real person or a recorded message. If you’re curious about how your carrier protects from robocalling, inquire with the company to see what kinds of strategies they have put into place.
At this point in technology, robocalls are simply something that we have to deal with and address on our own. Since there’s really no way to end them once and for all, it’s most effective to try out some different solutions and find a way to stop them from reaching your phone. Keep in mind that some robocalls do have important and useful reasons behind them. Rather than slamming the phone down at the sound of any pre-recorded message, at least take a second or two to listen and analyze what you’re hearing.
If robocalls don’t roll in constantly for you, the best solution is likely just to hang up the phone and be sure to jot down the number that it came from. There are so many companies out there that are well-equipped to manage data and work on blacklisting the numbers that are constantly conducting robocalls. The important thing is to judge how you are personally experiencing the problem and choose a solution based on your own experiences.
Not to mention, having a solid understanding of privacy and technology in the first place will ensure that you are safe from data breaches. Technology should not be taken lightly, it is a huge part of our daily lives and has a hold in many areas of our lives. Not to mention, it has access to a lot of our information. This fact should always be in the back of your mind when using any form of technology – even a simple phone.