How to fight back against robocalls

Robocalls are becoming more and more common. And let’s be honest—no one likes being disturbed by never-ending, persistent robocallers. According to Business Wire, in 2019, the average number of unwanted calls per person on a monthly basis was 14

With the increasing number of these annoying calls, people have started looking for ways to solve the issue and prevent it from happening in the future. Is that what you are looking for? If so, you’ve come to the right place—DoNotPay is here to bring all the answers you need regarding robocalls and help you put an end to this problem. Before we move on to tell you more about how to fight back against robocalls, let’s first explain what robocalls are, how they work, and how to spot the most common forms of scams.    

What is a robocall?

A robocall is an automated call delivering a pre-recorded message, most commonly used for the purpose of telemarketing and political campaigns. Robocalls are initiated by a computer program—autodialer. When you answer a call, and you don’t hear a live person on another end, you know you’ve answered a robocall. This can be a huge mistake in case a fraudster is on another end. According to PR Newswire, 27 billion robocalls were reported as scams in 2018. 


Robocalls can come in handy when used for the right purpose, such as public-service announcements or appointment reminders. However, in most cases, this technology is used by companies trying to sell you something and scammers trying to fool you and take your money or personal information for identity theft.

Are robocalls illegal?

We understand that you find robocalls annoying, and you would probably like to find a way to stop them all once and for all. You should know that that’s not possible, though, as not all robocalls are illegal. Even those that are cannot be completely blocked, as scammers always find a way to get around rules and make their scam call look like a real one. What you can do is learn how to differentiate these two so that you know how to spot an illegal robocall and how to protect yourself from it. Here are the main differences to keep in mind: 

Legal robocalls

Illegal robocalls

The service provider whose services you’re using has the right to make robocalls regarding your subscription if you gave them your phone number

If you answer a robocall asking for your personal or credit card information, this is a clear sign of an illegal robocall

A robocall informing you of updates on a rescheduled appointment or a delayed flight is legal, and it is of interest to you, so you should always answer these calls

If you are promised a big prize, be it a vacation, money, or something else, you are dealing with an illegal robocall

Some reputable institutions carrying out government-approved studies might use robocalls to contact potential participants 

The number on your caller ID can be manipulated to look as if a reputable institution is behind the call, in which case it is an illegal robocall

If you have an unsettled debt, debt collectors have the right to make robocalls, and you are obliged to answer them 

Unknown companies are likely to make robocalls to try to sell you a product or a service, which is illegal unless you gave them your written consent

How do robocalls work?  

When it comes to the very process of making robocalls, you should know that it all begins long before the call is actually made. Here are the major phases that you should know about to understand the principle behind robocalls:

  1. Today, almost anyone who wants to make robocalls can find a way to buy enough phone numbers to contact. Be it from a legitimate broker or a shady operator, both legit companies and scammers can easily obtain a long list of numbers. 
  2. The next step is to record the message that they want to deliver to all those people. 
  3. Software is then used to dial all the numbers on the list. Robocalling software can make about a million calls in just an hour

If it’s a robocall scam, the fraudster will leave a message trying to lead the victim to press a command. If the victim falls into the trap and presses the said command, the call is patched to a real person who takes care of the crucial part—trying to get the money or personal information.

How to recognize the most common robocall scams

If you want to be fully protected against robocall scams, you should first learn how to spot some of the most common forms of these calls and learn what to do in each case. When you know more about the most common scenarios, you can be prepared for it if it happens to you. Even if you’ve already had a bad experience, learning a little extra about scammers and their methods can’t do you any harm. 

Most common robocall scams

Explanation

Prize scams

Have you ever answered a phone call, and they told you that you were the lucky winner of an exclusive trip or a huge amount of money? And it happened out of nowhere. If so, you already know what a prize robocall scam is. This is one of the most common forms of robocall scams, as fraudsters are very well aware of how gullible people can be when you offer an exclusive prize that they can get just like that. If you’ve never experienced anything similar, now you know—when you hear something like this, it’s time to hang up the phone. 

Neighbor spoofing

People tend to pick up calls coming from a seemingly familiar number. Scammers are well aware of that. That’s how they came up with neighbor spoofing. No matter where they really are, they can make the number they’re calling from appear as if they’re in your neighborhood. When they see a number from the local area, people are more likely to answer. Sometimes, all they need is for you to answer the phone. To be on the safe side, you should never answer a call if you don’t know the entire number. Simply looking like it might be a neighbor is not a good enough reason to take the risk.

Investment fraud

Investment fraud can be particularly tricky to spot because fraudsters behind this scam go out of their way to make all the paperwork look official. They put seals and logos on the documents to make people believe that the documents are real. The key word to look out for here is “guarantee.” If they guarantee that you will get a huge amount of money after you make an investment, you should hang up. Even if they don’t ask you to invest the money right away, but just ask for your personal information, you should never reveal anything—they can use this information to commit identity theft.

Fake debt collectors

The huge number of people struggling to pay their bills has made room for another common form of robocall scams—fake debt collectors. Since calls from a real debt collector are obligatory to take, scammers take advantage of this and present as debt collectors to make people give them the money. They usually threaten to disconnect you if you don’t pay a certain amount of money into their bank account. They may even offer to give you a discount if you transfer the money into the given account instead of your utility company’s account.

How to fight back against robocalls

Have you got sick and tired of robocalls, whether they are legal or illegal? In any case, robocalls are annoying, especially if you receive them too frequently. But there’s no reason to keep putting up with this—you can take action to fight back against robocalls, and you should do so. For a start, you should:

  • Block robocalls on cell phone
  • Block robocalls on landline

Block robocalls on cell phone

Are you having trouble stopping robocalls on your cell phone? If so, your first step should be checking your phone’s built-in features. When you know what your options are, you can move on to the next step—asking your carrier about the services they have on offer to help you block unwanted calls. 

One of the most common solutions, though, is to install a call-blocking app on your phone. If you decide to do this, you can set your app to do the following:

  • Block the unwanted calls immediately
  • Allow your phone to ring silently when you receive a suspicious call
  • Transfer the suspicious call directly to voicemail
  • Block specific numbers based on a geographic area 
  • Make a list of unwanted numbers to block 
  • Send pre-written text messages to the caller 

To set the app according to your preferences, you might be required to give access to your contacts. If you install an app that has this requirement, you should first check the privacy policy to know what exactly they can do with the data you give them access to.

Block robocalls on landline

If robocalls are disturbing you on your landline phone, you should consider these options:

  1. Contact your carrier to check if they have convenient services for blocking unwanted calls
  2. Install a call-blocking device to fight back against robocalls

If your carrier has an option that solves your problem, make sure you ask about any additional charges that introducing this service might bring. Some carriers charge a separate monthly fee for helping you block unwanted calls.

When it comes to robocall blockers, it is up to you to choose how exactly you want the device to treat the pesky calls. If you decide to solve this problem this way, here are some of your options:

  • Set the light to start blinking when you receive an unwanted call
  • Block unwanted calls immediately
  • Transfer unwanted calls directly to voicemail
  • Create a whitelist of approved numbers to weed out the unwanted ones

How to report robocalls

At some point, robocalls can turn out to be a much more significant problem than a mere annoyance. If you’ve ever encountered a scammer on the other side of the line, you know how unpleasant a robocall can be. Things become even more alarming if they manage to fool you and take your money or personal information. 

No matter how unpleasant this experience might be, there’s still silver lining—you can report robocalls and even get revenge on them with the help of our app. The first step to take is to put your phone number on the National Do Not Call List. In case you continue to receive these unwanted calls, you should learn how to check if a number is on the Do Not Call list to be sure that you’ve completed the process successfully. Here’s how you can do this:

If this doesn’t work, you should consider turning to the Federal Trade Commission for help. You should be prepared for this option, too, so let’s see how to report robocalls to the FTC.

You can report robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission

Should you decide to turn to the Federal Trade Commission to report robocalls, you should be prepared to provide the unwanted number that you want to be blocked. That’s why it’s a good idea to write down the number that appears on your caller ID when you receive the unwanted call

Another useful piece of information that you should write down is the number that the fraudsters told you to call back, along with any names that they may have mentioned during the conversation. Based on the information you provide, the FTC can determine and analyze the calling pattern, which helps identify and track the scammer. If you want the scammer to be found as soon as possible, make sure you remember as many details as you can.

Use DoNotPay to get revenge on robocalls

Even if all the steps you take to block robocalls don’t help and they eventually manage to wrong you, there’s still something you can do—use our app to get revenge on robocallers. Our Robo Revenge is here to help you get the justice you deserve—you can use it to sue robocall scammers for up to $3,000. The very process behind this endeavor is quite simple. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Log in to DoNotPay via the web browser
  2. Go to Robo Revenge option
  3. Register with the Do Not Call list
  4. Obtain our virtual credit card 
  5. Provide the robocaller with the virtual credit card number instead of the real payment information

How does Robo Revenge work?

The principle behind Robo Revenge is rather easy to understand. It includes our virtual credit card for the sake of protecting your sensitive information. By giving the scammers the randomly generated virtual card number, you conceal your real information, making it impossible for them to access your funds. But that’s not all—not only does DoNotPay protect your details, but it can also access your scammer’s information. It’s enough for the scammer to try to take the money off your account for our app to get enough information to figure out who your scammers pretend to be. The information that we gather will make it possible for you to file a claim against the fraudsters to get justice. Our app can even send a demand letter for compensation if you want us to. 

How to prevent robocalls

No matter how satisfying it is to stop robocalls, we assume that you’d rather prevent this unpleasant encounter completely if possible. Luckily, there is something you can do to avoid robocalls. Even if you have been a victim before, at least you can do what you can to prevent a similar scenario in the future, right? Here are some of the essential steps that you should take to prevent robocalls from disturbing you ever again:

  • Register your number with the National Do Not Call List
  • Don’t give your phone number or other personal information to anyone who asks for it
  • Never expose your payment information to an unknown caller or anyone who sounds suspicious
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it is, so don’t accept prizes in any form
  • Switch to an unlisted phone number 

Let DoNotPay help you with other everyday issues

In addition to helping you fight back against robocalls, our app is here to help you deal with bills, manage your subscriptions, and much more. Here are some other things that DoNotPay can do for you to save you some trouble and get you the justice you deserve