Robocallers are a nuisance, and it seems like they’re more prevalent than ever. With tricks like using the same area code as you, it seems like there’s no escape from being offered another timeshare, vacation package, or home security system. But there are some things you can do to prevent them. Following is a transcript of the video.
Steve Kovach: Telemarketers have been around for decades.
Telemarketer: Long distance service.
Seinfeld: Oh gee, I can’t talk right now.
Steve Kovach: But in the cell phone era, they have gotten a lot more advanced. Robocallers can automatically dial your number and human doesn’t even get involved until you pick up. For some of you, that probably means several annoying calls a week. But there are some things you can do to stop them.
Let’s back up for a second though. How do robocallers get your number in the first place? There are a lot of tricks they use. They can get your number from a variety of sources like dialling 1-800 numbers, filling out forms online, even charities will sell your phone number to third parties. There’s no foolproof way to prevent robocallers from getting your number, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate the chances of it happening.
Treat your cell phone number like your Social Security number or your credit card number. Don’t give it out to a party you don’t trust. If you have to give out your number, use an alternative like maybe your work landline or even a landline you have at home that you never answer.
But what if it’s too late? What if robocallers already have your number? There are a few ways they trick you into answering. One thing they do is spoof their number so it looks like it’s coming from the same area code. You’re more likely to answer a phone call from a neighbour than a random number across the country. Sometimes they will even block the caller ID so you’re curious enough to pick up. If you don’t recognise the number calling you, just don’t answer.
No matter what trick they use to get you to answer, it’s annoying, but you can fight back. First, if a robocaller gets to you, you can block that number from calling you again. It’s actually really easy to do. On iPhone, go to your recent calls and click on the “I” next to the robocaller that just called you. Then scroll down and click “Block this caller.” It’s a little bit of a different process depending on which Android phone you might have, but go through your call log and you should see the option to block it.
Android users also get an extra bonus, Google software can automatically scan a number before it calls you and let you know if it’s spam or not. Then you don’t even have to answer.
The government can help you out too. The FTC has a national do not call list that you can enter your cell phone number into and if a robocaller calls you anyway, you can report them and they will get fined. Most wireless carriers offer tools to block spammers and robocallers, so ask your carrier what they offer.
If all else fails, there are a few apps you can download to your phone that promise to block robocallers. RoboKiller and Truecaller are two popular options. They charge a monthly fee, but they promise to block 90% of robocalls. RoboKiller has a cool feature that lets you send messages back to robocallers so you can give them a taste of their own medicine.
Male Voice: You just called me in a local training exercise mode.
Telemarketer: No I did not.
Male Voice: I trained for six months to go onto America’s Got Talent.
Steve Kovach: Unfortunately, there’s no way to block 100% of the robocalls you receive. They’re constantly finding new ways to get to you. But if you’re smart and proactive, you can drastically reduce the amount you receive.
Male Voice: So you feel like giving an honest opinion on whether you think my voice is nice or not. Are you cool with that?
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