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Robocalls: Not Just an Annoyance, But a Threat

Back when machines (or programs) first started making calls as a way to cheaply find a live person answering his/her phone, they were more annoyance than anything else.

robocalls

However, as the technology has evolved, they have now become a true threat: With the exception of reminders from medical professionals and pharmacies, many of these calls come from scammers, thieves, collection agencies and the like.

To help you combat this latest technological scourge, I’ve compiled the information you’ll need to both better understand the dangers it poses, and and some tips for avoiding them.

Dangers:

  • New AI (artificially Intelligent) programs can fool you into thinking you are speaking with a live person. The calls use even the most basic responses from you to then commit you to fraudulent activities. I consider this to be is the most dangerous threat;
  • Simply by answering the phone (even if you say nothing) you could find yourself on the equivalent of a “do call list” and the calls increase, clogging your phone line; in many cases the folks paying for robocalling do not care if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call List (Registry);
  • A Robocaller from another state or overseas can easily generate a local caller ID signature, thus fooling you into answering/considering the source legit and it’s downhill from there (see bullets 1 & 2).

What to do (personal phones):

  • Register all personal/mobile numbers with the National Do Not Call List.
    If you have a Google Voice number remember to register that too. While it may not stop some callers, it at least cuts down on the number of calls you’ll receive.
  • If you don’t recognize the incoming call phone number, don’t answer it.
    Let it go to voice mail. If it’s legitimate, the caller will leave a message.
  • Do not say a word.  If by accident you do answer the call and you don’t know the caller,  hang up.
  • Never hit the opt-out option.
    This used to be a legitimate way to stop further calls, but now it’s a sign to the robocalling service that they have reached an active line. This will result in more robocalls.
  • Use your cell phone blocking feature.
    This by itself is far from a full proof solution to the problem but it helps
  • Report suspicious calls to the FCC.

What to do (office)
(especially one that gets large number of calls from unrecognizable numbers)

The good news is that most of the current voice scams won’t work on calls to businesses simply because at any given time multiple people can be answering the phone and that defeats some of the scams.  But they do still happen, and when they do:

  • Don’t hit the opt out option
  • Report any suspicious calls to the FCC
  • Do an internet search on the phone number
    …to determine if a legitimate person or company is associated with that number. You can then decide whether taking calls from that number benefits your business.

If you have any questions on this or any other phone safety topic, don’t hesitate to call us at  813-276-1666, or toll free: 866-459-7266.