Protect Your Online Identity from Robocallers
Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Texts
Being so connected means being more exposed online, and that can potentially lead to serious threats. Some consumers may not understand how their data is being used or exposed, and that’s okay. Protecting your online presence may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll explain how do robocallers get your number?, and how to protect yourself online with a special focus on protecting your phone number.
Table of Contents
How do Robocallers Get Your Number?
How do robocallers get your number? The majority of robocallers obtain your number through third party data providers. These providers could have obtained your phone number, in accordance with the Better Business Bureau:
- You dialed one of the numbers 800, 888 or the number 900 (they make use of caller I.D. technology and also collect number numbers).
- You made an application for credit.
- You donate to charitable organizations. Here’s how to spot fraudulent donation scams.
- You’re a registered voter.
- You purchased something or participated in a contest and provided your number during the procedure.
- Your phone number is printed on your checks.
- You make a call to a business and they’ve got a customer I.D. (which is what you ought to suppose they have).
Are robocalls legal?
The laws of each jurisdiction are different and therefore it is worthwhile researching the legal situation of your country.
In the US certain robocalls are considered to be legitimate. This includes:
- Informational messages: For instance, robocalls that inform people that your trip was canceled or remind you of an appointment with a doctor.
- Debt collection calls: An entity that is legitimately trying to collect on a debt may utilize recorded messages to reach you. However, companies that try to offer you services in order to pay off your debts do not (and most likely fraud).
- Healthcare provider calls: For instance, pharmacies that remind you to refill your prescription.
- Messages from charities: The charity can call themselves. However, if a charity employs an individual to conduct robocalls for it The robocalls will be only sent to donors who have previously donated or other members who are members of that charity. They should also have an automated option that lets you block the calls in the future.
Robocalls that try to solicit you to purchase something are unlawful unless the company is granted your written permission to contact you in this manner. In order to obtain your consent the business must be clear about soliciting your consent to be contacted using the use of robocalls and not require you to consent to the calls in exchange for receiving the product or service. If you grant permission you can choose to withdraw your consent at any time.
Robocalls that are designed to trick or trick people are illegal in all jurisdictions. In January of 2020 the Telephone Robocall Addiction Criminal Enforcement and Deceitorence Act (TRACED) was adopted with bipartisan support across the US which gave more power over the Federal Trade Commission to deter spam calls. The Act increases the penalties for frauds involving robocalls, ranging from $1500 to up to $10,000 per spam phone.
How to avoid robocallers?
There’s not much that could be done to ward off the robocalls completely. But, taking the necessary steps can help. Here’s what you can do.
|Register for a “Do Not Call List.”
|Doing this will only help you bypass sales calls but calls like political, informational, surveys, charitable and debt collection will still ring.
|Know what your voter registration distribution policy says.
|As per rules, political parties cannot call cell phones without prior permission and consent, however, this does not apply to landlines. Different states have different rules about how a voter’s information will be used by the political party.
|Do not fall for lucrative offers.
|Stay updated and research proactively before entering into a contest or sweepstake. Regardless of what’s on offer, do not participate especially when you know that your privacy is at stake. Be practical, how often does one win a car or lottery?
|Do not put out contact details on public platforms.
|It is advised to not share your phone number anywhere on the Internet – on any public platform, forum or social media. Data aggregators, while working behind the scenes, collect information available on public domains to sell it all to a telemarketing company.
|Get an alternate number.
|This will help you keep your primary and personal contact safe. Even though you end up signing up for a contest or a service, you won’t have to deal with telemarketing calls on your personal number.
|With a robocall blocker, you can stop incoming calls from unknown callers. You can ask unknown callers to send you a whitelist request. You can create a whitelist for your circle so that their call doesn’t get dropped.
How to Get Unwanted Robocalls to Stop and Avoid Phone Scams
- Do not answer calls made by an unknown number. If you respond to a call, do not answer immediately.
- You might not be able to immediately tell when a phone call has been fraudulent. Be aware that a Caller ID that shows the “local” number does not necessarily mean that the caller is an actual local caller.
- If you answer the telephone and the person who is calling or recording demands you to hit the button to end calls, immediately hang up. Scammers typically employ this technique to determine possible victims.
- Do not answer any question, particularly ones that you can answer by “Yes.”
- Do not divulge any private information like number of accounts, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, or other identifiable information in response to calls that are unexpected or if you’re in any way suspicious.
- If you receive a call from a person who claims to represent a corporation or government agency, do not answer and contact the number that appears on your statement of account or in the phone book or on the business’ or the government agency’s website to verify the legitimacy of the inquiry. You should usually receive an official written confirmation by mail prior to when you receive a message from an authentic source especially if the person calling you is seeking a cash payment.
- Be careful if being pressured to provide information in a hurry.
- If there is a voicemail account through your phone provider, be sure to create the account with a password. Some voicemail providers are set to let you access your account if you make calls from your personal number. A hacker can spoof your home number and access your voicemail, if you have not established your password.
- Contact your phone company regarding call blocking tools they may offer and look for apps you can download to your mobile phone to block calls from unwanted numbers.
- If you have a robocall blocker already, it is often helpful to let the company know the number that is generating unwanted calls, so that they can help to block these calls for you and other users.
- To prevent telemarketing calls from reaching you make sure you register your number on the Do not call List. The list of legitimate telemarketers to stay clear of calling the landline and wireless numbers that are listed.
What happens if you answer a robocall?
Here are a few methods you can employ to help you save money:
- Hang up as soon as you can
The best method to shut the danger of robocalls is to immediately hang up before you say anything. If you notice that the tone of the call is not natural or that the person calling you is asking shady and unusual questions, end the call immediately. In the case of robocalls the less you talk to them the less you talk to them, the better. If you continue to talk to them, they will label your number as active and you’ll continue to receive more calls that are not legitimate.
- Your credit card info is just your business
Any reputable company will respect your personal information and will respect your privacy. In rare circumstances, they require confirmation of the validity of a credit card, and also confirm that they have the card on file and even if they do you should only use the last four numbers. If a person calls you and asks for your personal information at the beginning be wary since the odds are it’s a report Scam number.
- Do not follow the bots instructions
A typical robocall will ask you to talk with a live person. They may also make the option to opt-out of these calls when you press an item; however, you shouldn’t be fooled by that. If you press anything, it will make your number a good one to contact and the fake robo-dialers will be back to pester you.
Frequently Asked Question
What to do if a scammer has your phone number
If something goes wrong and a crook has access to your number, you have options
- Get in touch with your service provider right away and let them know about the issue.
- If necessary, you can ask them to place an interim stop to your line to ensure that scammers don’t have access to your number.
- You can contact those you know to inform them that their phone could be compromised.
- To ensure that you are not found to be responsible for potential criminal acts committed with your information, take note of all the actions you’ve taken as well as anyone you’ve spoken to and record the dates.
- Report your phone as lost or stolen (if it was the case).
- Make sure you update your contact information as soon as possible on all accounts you use (bank or social media or your child’s school) to guard your personal information from being hacked.