Once upon a time, telemarketers sat at large banks of phones, manually dialing number after number to peddle their services. Today, however, the telemarketing industry is mostly automated. Computers can dial thousands of numbers at a time. When someone picks up, they deliver a recorded pitch, and very often some kind of con.
Overwhelmed With Calls
TrustDALE has done a lot with phone scams over the years. Sometimes Dale might ask them to hold on for a moment and then just walk away from the phone for a few minutes. Other times he might play along with the scam only to shut it down when the scam becomes clear. But recently the robocalls have become overwhelming. Dozens of calls a day. There must be something we can do.
A New Law
Congress has finally taken action. Robocalls are already illegal in the US, and companies can be fined as much as ten thousand dollars for each call. But many of these operations are based overseas beyond the reach of US law. Now, following new legislation from congress, telephone carriers are also required to help identify and prevent robocalls.
One way to cut down on robocalls is to enforce anti-spoofing laws. Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. There are legitimate reasons to spoof a number. For instance, a customer service representative may want to present caller ID with a general number for the call center instead of their personal line. But if you are spoofing a number with the intent to scam someone, you can be fined.
One way to cut down on robocalls is sot treat your phone number is private information. The more you give out your number, the more you open yourself up to robocallers and scammers. It is very common for companies to request your phone number, both online and in person. If you walk into a store and they ask for your number when you check out, you can politely decline. Keeping your number private starts with not intentionally giving it out to strangers.
When you do receive a robocall, just hang up. Do not speak or press any buttons. If you talk, the computer knows that this is a number with a real human being who answers calls, and it will send you more calls. Even worse, if you push a button—even to opt out—the scammers could consider that granting permission for them to call.
Don’t be duped by robocallers and phone scammers. Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. And if you have to give out a number, use a line that you don’t actually use. You can get a Magic Jack number, Google Voice number, or other lines that can serve as a junk inbox. That way, you can listen to the messages when you want, and you don’t have to mix up those messages with the voicemails you actually want.