The number of robocalls ringing our phones at all hours of the day has reached an all-time high, and because of that those calls are also getting a lot of attention from the government and technology companies. The House has passed a bill that will all but stop robocalls, while the FCC passed a proposal that gives carriers the permission to be more aggressive when blocking spam calls. More recently, the implementation of SHAKEN/STIR technology by carriers and phone companies has begun to take place, identifying and blocking spam calls. Apple even added a feature to iOS 13 that lets you block all unknown callers from ever ringing your phone.
Robocalls convey a prerecorded message to your phone that often urges you to do something. Sometimes it’s a message from a candidate running for office or a call from your bank advertising a new service. Even more worrisome are the scammy robocalls — posing, say, as the “IRS” — that intend to trick people out of their money. It’ll be some time before the FCC’s proposal is implemented so, you’re not going to see a dramatic decrease in unwanted calls overnight.
Not every automated solicitation call counts as illegal. Calls from political campaigns, debt collectors and charities are all permissible. What’s not allowed are the calls from the fake IRS agents or the companies that claim you won a free vacation to the Bahamas.
While it’s not possible to entirely end robocalls from reaching your phone, there are some steps you can take to reduce the number of calls you receive.
Best practices to keep annoying robocalls at bay
According to the FCC, there are some easy steps you can take to help reduce robocalls:
Don’t answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
If someone calls you and claims to be with XYZ company, hang up and call the company yourself. Use the company’s website to find an official number.
If you do answer a call and hear a recording such as “Hello, can you hear me?” just hang up.
The same goes for a call where you’re asked to press a number before being connected to a representative.
When you answer a call and interact with the voice prompt or by pressing a number, it lets the spammer know your number is real. They can then sell your number to another company, or begin targeting your number more frequently.