In the last year, Americans received about 5 billion robocalls per month, up from the 2 billion a month just two years ago. Robocalls are automated calls made by a computer program, enabling the telemarketer or scammer on the other end to call multitudes of phone numbers in a short span of time.
It took me under five minutes of “Googling” to find a website and fill out a form to order robocalling software that I could use to dial hundreds of telephone numbers an hour.
These calls are often from unfamiliar phone numbers. Answering the phone will let robocallers know that there is a person associated with this number as opposed to an automated system.
Ignoring unfamiliar phone numbers, however, might not be enough to counter this problem, as robocallers have begun using technology that enables them to “spoof” or fake an incoming phone number that may appear to be more familiar. In other words, your caller ID device will indicate that the call is coming from an 808 area code when in actuality it could be from anywhere.
Robocalls are very prevalent today. Nearly 50% of all mobile phone calls are spam. Many of these calls are telemarketers hoping to sell a product, but some of these calls intend to scam money or personal information from the call recipient.
There are ways to reduce robocalls.
Android and iPhone users might find success with applications and services such as Robokiller or Nomorobo. Additionally, Google and Apple have been working on implementing anti-robocall features into their software.
Asking one’s cell phone carrier to block particular numbers is also a good strategy (a monthly fee may be charged).
Major carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T all have features that might block or reduce robocalls.
Joining the National Do Not Call registry (DoNotCall.gov) may also reduce robocalls and also lets you file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
But the most effective way to reduce robocalls is to never answer the phone. Let all phone calls go to voicemail, then assess them before returning the call, if appropriate.
This may not give you the satisfaction of yelling at the robocaller, but the number of unwanted calls you receive will decline.