Spam calls are getting more and more popular and even more annoying for cell phone users. They’ve even gone as far as masking their calls with local phone numbers so you think it’s a real person.
The other day I had a spam caller using my husband’s phone number to call me. I answered the phone thinking it was my husband only to find a man with an accent on the other line. I told him that he was using my husband’s phone number and he starts laughing saying, “ma’am, I am your husband.”
Stop Spam Calls – Tips from the FCC
- Use the block feature on your iPhone – you can block callers by selecting their phone number from your call log and hitting “block this caller.”
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
- If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
- If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
- To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.
More Resources to Stop Spam Calls:
- AT&T – Fraud and security resources, with tips for reducing robocalls.
- CTIA – Consumer resources: How to stop robocalls.
- Google Play – Update for phone app for Android 7.0 and newer devices.
- Google Project Fi – Call blocking info for Project Fi wireless service.
- T-Mobile – Call-protection options to identify or block potential scammers.
- U.S. Cellular– Consumer information on robocalls and blocking apps.
- US Telecom – Trade association’s consumer tips and resources for stopping robocalls.
- Verizon –Customer support page for stopping robocalls (includes wireline resources).
The National Do Not Call List
The national Do Not Call list protects landline and wireless phone numbers. You can register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list at no cost by calling 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register. You can also register at add your personal wireless phone number to the national Do-Not-Call listdonotcall.gov .
Telemarketers must remove your numbers from their call lists and stop calling you within 31 days from the date you register. Your numbers will remain on the list until you remove them or discontinue service – there is no need to re-register numbers.
Under FCC rules, telemarketers calling your home must provide their name along with the name, telephone number, and address where their employer or contractor can be contacted. Telemarketing calls to your home are prohibited before 8 am or after 9 pm, and telemarketers are required to comply immediately with any do-not-call request you make during a call.
Whether you are on the National Do Not Call Registry or not, tell unwanted callers that you do not consent to the call and to put you on their internal do not call list. Make a record of the caller’s number and when you made your request not to be called, and file a complaint with the FCC if the caller does not comply with your request.