How to deal with the most common robocall scams
Did you know that as many as 27 billion robocalls were classified as scams in 2018, according to PR Newswire? With robocall scams becoming more and more common, people are wondering about the ways to protect themselves from these frauds. Even legal robocalls are annoying and can disturb you if made too frequently, let alone illegal calls that involve fraud.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place—DoNotPay is here to help you deal with robocall scams and find a way to put an end to them. If the scammers have already wronged you, we’ve got you covered there, too—you can use our app to get revenge on them. But before we get into more details about protection against and revenge on robocall scammers, let’s explain what robocalls are.
Understanding the process behind robocalls
When you answer a call and hear an automated message instead of a live person on another end, you’ve answered a robocall. Robocalls deliver a pre-recorded message, usually trying to sell you something. They can also be part of a political campaign, or—if you’re dealing with a scammer—they are trying to steal your money or personal information. But what’s the process behind it?
The very beginning goes way before the moment when you answer the call. For a start, those who make robocalls, whether they do it legally or illegally, have to record the message that they want to deliver. When they have a message, they move on to buying phone numbers. Obtaining a long list of numbers has become rather easy—if you can’t buy numbers from a legitimate broker, you can always find a shady operator. Finally, they put the phone numbers in robocalling software to dial all of them in a short time—they use software that can make about one million robocalls in only an hour.
When you’re dealing with fraudsters, their message usually includes instructions for pressing a certain command for further information, which is the trap. If you fall into that trap, they patch the call to a real person who tries to fool you.
Why has the number of robocalls increased?
Considering the rising number of robocalls, chances are that you’ve already received at least one, or at least you know someone who’s had this unpleasant experience. Here are the main two reasons why so many people are getting more and more robocalls:
- It has become much cheaper to make robocalls than before, so more and more companies use them for telemarketing
- Many fraudsters have started using robocalls as a perfect means to scam innocent people
Can robocalls be legal?
We understand how annoying robocalls can be. You’d probably like them all to be illegal, so there’s a valid reason to put an end to this form of “communication” once and for all. However, you should know that there are both legal and illegal robocalls. Depending on various circumstances, you can determine whether you’re dealing with a legal or an illegal robocall. For instance, if you receive a call from an unknown company or an individual that you don’t remember giving your number to, that’s a clear sign that you’ve answered an illegal robocall. Here are some other major differences that should help you tell the two apart:
If you have an unsettled debt, debt collectors can make robocalls to contact you, and these calls are legal and highly recommendable to accept
|When a robocall is trying to sell you something, this is an illegal call unless you gave your consent to the company in question, allowing them to contact you for this purpose|
|Robocalls delivering an update on delayed flights or rescheduled appointments, and other similar informational messages of interest|
If the robocall is telling you that you’ve won a prize in any form, you can be sure that this is an illegal call, so it’s time to hang up
If you give your service providers your phone number willingly, they have the right to contact you about anything regarding your subscription
|If the robocall is asking you for your personal or credit card information, you are dealing with an illegal call|
|A robocall contacting you to participate in a government-approved study is legal|
If the number is only manipulated to look like a reputable institution is behind the call, the robocall is illegal
What to do if you receive a robocall similar to your phone number
It might happen that you receive a call from an unknown, yet a rather familiar phone number. If you see that your caller ID is showing a number with the same area code and even with the first three digits the same as your own, you are probably dealing with the so-called neighbor spoofing.
It’s not a coincidence that scammers chose a number that looks like it’s from the same local area—they know that people are more likely to pick up the phone if they see a number that looks familiar. They simply don’t think about it too much, as they suppose that someone they know is on another end. That’s how fraudsters came up with this form of scam.
Scammers know how to manipulate the numbers to make it look like they’re calling from your neighborhood when in reality, they could be anywhere. Sometimes all they need is to lure you into picking up the phone.
To protect yourself from this form of scam, you shouldn’t pick up the phone at all. When you don’t recognize the entire number, the best thing to do is to leave it and not take the risk. Should it turn out that it was really a neighbor calling you, they will leave a message, so you’ll know.
Can a robocall scammer freeze accounts?
There are robocall scammers threatening to freeze your bank account, but they only do so to scare you and make you reveal your credit card information so that they can access your account.
People easily fall into this trap because these scammers are well-prepared—they present themselves like they’re calling from your bank, and they mention its name to make the call sound credible.
They then warn you that your account or your ATM card has been compromised and that you need to give them your credit card info to solve the problem. Never do that!
The easiest way to recognize these scammers is to check your caller ID before you pick up—in most cases, they show on caller IDs as a string of zeros.
Beware of health insurance scam robocalls
Fake robocalls about your health insurance are another form of robocall scams that is getting more and more common. Scammers can easily find a way to manipulate the numbers to make them look like the call is coming from a health insurance company. They impersonate health insurance providers to make you reveal your sensitive information more easily. These scams mostly happen during the open enrollment season, when many people all around the country enroll in new or change their health care plans.
Other common forms of robocall scams
In addition to the previously mentioned, there are some other common forms of robocall scams that you should know about to be sure you can act accordingly if you face them. Here are a few other examples of robocall scams you need to beware of:
Common robocall scams
What to know about them
Robocalls from fake bill collectors
|Too many people all around the country are struggling with unsettled debt, which is just perfect for scammers—they call these people and present themselves as debt collectors. The rising number of fraudsters use this method to fool people because they know people are likely to believe them without reading into it. To make their action even more effective, they usually threaten that they will disconnect you if you don’t pay the money in a few hours. One of the clear signs that you’ve received an illegal robocall is when it asks you to pay the money into a certain bank account instead of paying it directly to your utility provider.|
|When you receive a robocall promising you a guaranteed gain if you invest a certain amount of money, don’t believe anything you hear. Whenever they guarantee anything just like that, you should know that it’s a scam. The trick here is that they can make these scams look real. They go out of their way to prepare the documents with real-looking seals and logos, so people can easily believe that it’s an official document. Even if they are not asking for the money, they may request your personal information to commit identity theft.|
|Another word that should be taken as an alarming sign that you’re dealing with a scam is “winner.” if they are calling to inform you that you’re the lucky winner of a prize of any kind, it would be best to hang up the phone. Whether they offer you an enormous amount of money, an exclusive trip, or something else, if it sounds too good to be true, you shouldn’t buy it. Their intention is to get you all worked up about their fantastic prize, so you don’t notice when you reveal your personal or payment information to them.|
Block robocalls on your cell phone
If robocalls are disturbing you on your mobile, the first thing to do is to check your phone’s built-in features to know your options. When you do this, you can turn to your carrier to see what services they have to offer to help you stop unwanted robocalls.
If none of these work, you should try the most popular solution—installing a call-blocking app on your cell phone. If you decide to go down this road, here are some of the options to choose from:
- Set the app to block all unwanted calls right away
- Set your phone to ring silently if a call is suspicious
- Transfer all suspicious calls to voicemail
- Block unwanted numbers based on a specific geographic area
- Make a list of phone numbers to block
Block robocalls on your landline
If you’re looking for ways to block robocalls on your home phone, you should consider the following options:
- Check with your carrier to see what services they have to offer for stopping unwanted calls
- Install a call-blocking device and attach it to your landline to block robocalls
If you choose to go with the services your carrier has to offer, don’t forget to ask about additional charges they may charge you for these services. They may have a monthly fee for blocking unwanted calls, so ask about it to be sure their services pay off.
If you opt for a call-blocking device, you’re the one to set the device and what it does with robocalls. Here are some of the options to take into consideration:
- Set the light to start blinking when you receive a call coming from a suspicious number
- Block all unwanted calls right away
- Transfer robocalls directly to voicemail
- Make a list of approved phone numbers and set the device to allow only the calls from these numbers
Learn when it’s time to report robocalls
No matter how annoying robocalls can be, if you’re dealing with a legal robocall, you’re still not in that much of a trouble. In case a scammer manages to reach you and, even worse, wrong you in any way, things become much more unpleasant and complicated. They can lead you to give them your money, your credit card information, or other personal information that they need to commit identity theft.
Whatever they do to wrong you, the good news is that you can report robocalls to make them pay for what they did and get the justice you deserve. The first thing you need to do is to put your phone number on the National Do Not Call List, which will protect you from future robocalls, too. Make sure you know how to check if a number is on the Do Not Call list to be completely sure that you’ve done everything right. Here’s how to check if your registration went well:
- Dial 1-888-382-1222
- Verify your registration online
- Call via TeleTypewriter at 1-866-290-4236
Rely on DoNotPay to get revenge on robocalls
Just because a scammer managed to fool you and take your money or your information, that doesn’t mean that you should despair. You can and should rely on our app to get revenge on robocall scammers that wronged you. Our Robo Revenge option can help you sue robocall scammers for up to $3,000. What’s even better is that you don’t have to go through much trouble to get this done. Here are the steps to take:
- Sign in to DoNotPay via the web or an iOS device
- Select Robo Revenge option
- Put your phone number on the Do Not Call list
- Get DoNotPay virtual credit card number
- When the robocall scammer that’s threatening you asks for your payment info, provide them with the virtual credit card we gave you instead of the real card information
Take action to prevent robocalls
It is good to know that you can stop robocalls, but what if we told you that you could also prevent them in the future? If you want to prevent robocalls from causing you more inconvenience and getting you into trouble in the future, here are some crucial steps to take:
- Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call List
- If you receive a robocall offering you any form of a prize you got out of nowhere, hang up
- Never give your phone number to just anyone who requires you to do so
- Never reveal your payment information or any other sensitive info to an unknown caller
- Start using an unlisted phone number
What else can DoNotPay help you with?
DoNotPay can do much more than help you cope with robocall lawsuits and get revenge if scammers manage to fool you. There are quite a few other problematic situations in which you can use our app to avoid going through trouble. Here’s what else you can get help with when you rely on DoNotPay:
- Getting revenge on robocalls disturbing you
- Suing anyone who’s wronged you in small claims court
- Getting the best DMV appointments fast
- Getting compensation in case your flight is canceled
- Fighting your speeding tickets
- Monitoring and canceling subscriptions and memberships
- Disputing unfair traffic tickets
- Jumping long phone queues when calling customer support
- Contesting parking tickets
- Dealing with various credit card-related problems
- Paying and negotiating huge bills