Thanks to emerging technology, it’s never been easier for scammers to flood your phone with unwanted and often illegal phone calls, making it a challenge to answer your telephone.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, nearly 2.4 billion robocalls are made every month. Because of the technology, scammers can display fake caller ID information to make it seem like the call might be an important one.
If you answer your phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live voice on the other end, it’s a robocall. While schools, trash collection services, politicians and nonprofits can and frequently do employ robocalls, other pre-recorded messages of this kind often try to sell the listener on something. If you haven’t given a company permission to call you, then these marketing calls are likely illegal.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) ScamTracker is one place where consumers can report robocalls.
“These scammers have been calling me nonstop using automated robocalls and pitching a ‘get rich quick scheme’ style scam,” a consumer from Rolla, Missouri, wrote in a BBB ScamTracker report. “There is no way to be removed from their list so I have submitted reports.”
Many types of recorded messages are allowed by law. Those include calls from charities or political candidates. Informational calls, like those from a doctor’s office, also are permitted. If you are receiving unwanted calls from businesses trying to sell you on something, it’s important that you report them.
The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a partnership with state and federal bodies in an attempt to crack down on robocalls. Called “Operation Call it Quits,” the initiative has included the filing of 94 actions targeting operations responsible for more than 1 billion calls.
How can you stop the flow of robocalls?
- Hang up the phone. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded pitch, just hang up. Some scammers may have an option to press a button to remove you from their calling list. Doing this could result in more calls.
- Block the number. Call-blocking technology can help you reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive. Research what options your phone carrier might offer.
- Report. Consumers are urged to report scam calls to the FTC at ftc.gov and BBB ScamTracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.