Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How To Stop Robocalls And Telephone Scams

Photo: Dreamtime
So, it's getting to be too much. I get more robo/scam/telemarketing calls these days than personal calls; and, it's beginning to disrupt my home life. I've stepped out of the shower; paused an activity that needs my full attention; and interrupted food preparation to go answer a robocall. All for nothing!

What I mind the most about all these pesky calls is I've gone from being open, accessible and trusting to someone who feels hounded, a person who is now reluctant to answer the phone in my own home! And I no longer automatically pick up if I don't recognize the number calling. I resent the intrusion! It also makes my life more hurried, or frantic then it needs to be. It's time to fight back!
Silver Stars Communications

Today I called the Federal Trade Commission to ask what is the best way to stop these unwanted, in bad-faith callers from calling me.

1) The FTC said it's best not to answer the calls. Answering tells robocallers they have reached a target, and encourages them to keep calling.

2) Put your phone number on the Do Not Call List (which I did years ago so that businesses I don't do business with can't use me for telemarketing or solicitation purposes).

3) Next file a complaint with the FTC to report callers who ignore the Do Not Call List. Collect the information on your caller ID, such as telephone number, name and/or company, as well as, the date and time of the call, plus other helpful details like the number of times you are contacted per day by the party (i.e., telephone number) you are reporting.

The fastest way to file a complaint is online here (fill in the form). Another way is to call 888-382-1222 (and follow the prompts). The more of us who file complaints, the better the FTC can track and rid us of these nuisance and/or dishonest callers. Once again I'd like to know peace and joyful anticipation when my telephone rings.

Extra tips:

(1) Be careful not to give out any personal information should you happen to answer a robocall: "Is this Mrs. Johnson?" Avoid saying the word "yes," and hang up ASAP. Fraudulent callers record the word "yes" in order to scam people for long distance charges. How they can get away with the fraud is puzzling, but who needs the hassle of untangling a deception? 

(2) Don't answer mystery numbers with digits close to yours. Called neighbor spoofing, scammers acquire local area digits to trick you. 

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  1. Dearest Debra,
    It IS very annoying and all of our friends and doctors etc. are on our contact list so we ignore the others. But the Do Not Call List obviously doesn't make any difference... We've always been on it.
    Filing a complaint will be very difficult as we never know the name or company; only the number.
    WISH this would be taken care of!

    1. My dear friend, Mariette, you can still report the call, since the FTC will have the phone number, time and day of the call. They track how many other people are getting the call to end the fraudulent activity. OK that you don't have every piece of information.

      A hug back to you, my dear. :)

    2. Thanks for this info! Happy weekend to you loyal friend!💗

    3. We are getting your heat wave in New York City this weekend. Nonetheless, I love summer. The long hours of daylight is worth the heat.

    4. Yeah, it sure is but we got back this afternoon by 4:00 PM after a 2 hour drive by bus, without airconditioning working. It worked in the morning but boy did all 22 of us look 'sun-burned' as we exited! Such heat is NO FUN! Feels great to be home and fresh.
      Enjoy your weekend and I just filed my 1st complaint about a never ending nasty texting person with some link that we never click on of course. Made a screenshot of it and included it. Hope this STOPS.

  2. Hi Debra,

    They've started calling my cell phone and leaving voice mail messages. I know they are scams, but it's still annoying. It seems that every time we come up w/a way to thwart them, they figure out a way around it. Very frustrating, I agree.

    Cheers, M-T

    1. Oh, how terrible. Makes me wonder if companies which require us to provide phones numbers turn around and sell them. How else would robocallers get your cell phone number? Such a waste of our time.