Great Guide on How to Deal with Unknown Calls
Calls from unknown numbers are a reality for most Americans. Besides financial scams, one of the worst things about these calls is that they can have a real effect on your daily routine. Instead of doing something you have planned to do, your focus shifts to finding out why you are receiving this calls. Despite the fact that most unknown calls are robocalls, you do pick up with the intention of confirming that it’s not someone else. If you are looking for ways of effectively dealing with robocalls and anonymous calls, here are some steps you can take.
Look up the person by their number
The call maybe from someone you recognize but not by their number, or it may be from someone from a previous relationship. If you suspect that it’s someone you know, use a reverse phone look up service, like Nuwber, to see other information available about them, including their name and address. The website contains links to personal information and public records.
Block calls automatically
If you’re confident that you won’t be missing any important calls by rejecting anonymous calls, ask your phone company if they provide this service. Besides consumer demand, the Federal Communications Commission (FFC) has also taken strong action by compelling companies to offer call-blocking as a default service.
Block for Landline
If your phone company offers anonymous call rejection, follow the following steps to activate it on your landline. Activate your caller ID. Then, dial *77 and hang up after you hear three beeps. This will activate call rejection and your phone service will automatically reject calls from hidden numbers.
Block for Mobile Phones
For your mobile phone, you can find a call blocking app that does the same job. These apps allow you to reject unknown numbers and also manually add numbers that you want to block. Some of the popular mobile Phone apps for blocking calls include Hiya, Truecaller, Mr. Number and Calls Blacklist.
The Hiya app is a user-friendly app available for both Android and iPhone. Besides blocking unwanted calls and numbers, you can also use it for reverse lookups and spam alerts. Truecaller is also available for iOS and Android and it has a large spam list that has contributions from its millions of users.
Mr. Number is an iOS app that helps you block calls from known scam numbers and telemarketers, and also create a list of unwanted numbers. Calls Blacklist is an Android app has options to block calls and SMS using a blacklist and whitelist contacts to make sure they are not blocked.
Use Phone features to block
Your Phone itself may offer features to block unknown callers. Android and iPhone users have the ‘do not disturb’ option that blocks calls from unknown numbers. Also, this option does not stop messages, calls and notifications from other numbers: Depending on the phone, you can allow calls from specific numbers or accept a call from someone who calls multiple times.
Many popular carriers have call filtering. If you’re with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint, you have options to identify and block numbers: AT&T has its own app called AT&T Call Protect. The app is available for Android and iOS, and it has automatic and manual blocking features. Verizon has a large database of spam numbers, along with a call blocking service. T-Mobile has features for identifying and blocking scam numbers, and Sprint has a premium caller ID service that protects users from ID spoofers and robocalls.
Enter yourself in a no-call registry
Of course, telemarketing is one of the main reasons for the disturbing calls. But, according to a 2018 study by Hiya, spam and fraud calls are also extremely common. The study says that 274 million US mobile phone subscribers received 26300 million calls or an average of eight calls per month. Out of these robocalls, over 32% were general spam calls, over 25% were fraud calls, and just under 25% word telemarketing calls.
A particularly malicious type of robocall is the called caller ID spoofing. Spoofing basically involves scammers changing their caller ID to scam consumers. The type of calls scammers make can vary a lot. For instance, a well-known scam involves scammers pretending to be from the IRS, claiming that you pay unpaid taxes immediately. There is also scam involving insurance, property and IT services. One option you have is to report the scam calls to the FCC online. You can also call them by phone at 1-888-225-5322.
One option you have to avoid some of these robocalls is to register with the national Do Not Call Registry managed by the Federal Trade Commission. You can also report on 1-877-382-4357. While adjusting your phone number in the registry will not guarantee the elimination of unwanted calls, it will keep outcalls from reputable companies who you may have signed up with when you bought something from them.
Besides using blocking tools and registering yourself, you should also be mindful of the precautions you need to take when talking with any telemarketers or potential scammers you encounter.
Firstly, you should avoid saying anything that may be used against you by the scammers. For example, the scammer may record you say ‘yes’ and claim that as consent for the scam, according to USA.gov. Similarly, do not give out any bank information or credit card information.
Completely shutting down unknown calls is impossible because of the technology telemarketers and scammers used to hide their information. But, by using apps add phone feature specifically designed to target unwanted calls, you can reduce the number of calls you receive. Also, your phone service provider may have a database of known scam numbers. So, by using these services you can also ensure that you don’t fall for common scams. Most importantly, when on the phone with an unknown person, you should be completely alert of what precautions to take to ensure the security of your information.