Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Blocking robocalls

It’s a shocking number: an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls were made per month in 2016. And according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), telemarketing calls were the number one consumer complaint.

But these calls are not only annoying; some of these calls can hurt you financially. The FCC reported one robocall scheme racked in more than $54 million from consumers.

However, there are some ways to help you fight off those unwanted calls.

The easiest way to protect yourself from robocalls is not to answer numbers you don’t know. Answering a robocall verifies that your phone number is a working number and makes you a target for more calls.

If you do answer, be careful of what you say. One recent robocall scheme gets consumers to say "yes" and later uses the recording to allow unauthorized charges on the person’s credit card.

To stop robocalls from even reaching your phone, you can add your number to the National Do Not Call registry to keep telemarketers from calling. You can also download apps such as Truecaller, Mr. Number and Robokiller that will stop your phone from ringing with calls from robocallers and deliver a message that your number is out of service.

And if you really want to have some fun, you can turn the tables. You can be the robocaller with the Jolly Roger Telephone Company. The program allows customers to patch a telemarketer who calls them to a robot that keeps the telemarketer engaged and the customer free to do better things.

You may feel as if you are too smart to fall for robocallers' tricks, but they have evolved significantly in the past years. Some callers appear to be from your area code resulting in higher response rates. Others have an imitation of life software, where the robocall sounds like a real person that coughs, laughs and is programmed to interact in real time with consumers.


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