Why Do Robocalls Hang Up as Soon as You Answer?
Since phone scams are threatening to become the number one fraudulent activity in the world, it is essential to understand how they work to protect yourself from potential harm. Robocalls are a big part of the phone scam cake. In 2019 up to 65 billion robocalls were made, many of them with an intent to steal money.
The methods fraudsters use to trick people into giving away personal details are getting quite elaborate, and a robocall is not an instant scam or an independent event. Each call is a piece of a bigger puzzle, designed to enable access to various funding sources.
The fact that you have received a call that got disconnected as soon as you answered, doesn’t mean that the call was not made with malicious intent. So, let’s see how to stop robocalls with no answer.
What Are Robocalls?
With the number of robocalls happening all over the world, you have probably received such a call at least once. Robocalls use Internet phones with built-in autodialing software that enables them to make hundreds or even thousands calls per day.
A robocaller is not a real person, but a recorded message, so a robocall is not an actual telephone conversation. It can be interactive, though, prompting you to follow instructions, such as pressing a key or a number to continue.
In the beginning, most messages used bot voices, but robocalls evolved. Most robocalls that you receive nowadays use human voices to give an impression of authenticity. Some of them are quite convincing, so it might be hard to tell whether or not it’s a robocall right away.
Despite the advanced technology, like voice recognition and AI, all robocalls will fit into the following pattern. The caller will:
- Stick to the script too eagerly
- Not be able to answer any of your questions
- Not change their tone of voice even if you become rude
- Insist on getting some of your personal details
- Insist on immediate action
- Not be able to provide any additional explanation regarding the request that they are making
You should beware of modern technology that allows the callers to mimic familiar phone numbers. This technique is called spoofing, and almost all robocall scams use it. The number that appears on your screen looks like a local or even familiar number, so you answer the phone, thinking that a friend or a neighbor is calling. Some scammers go so far as to use fake government agency numbers.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you can receive several calls that are a part of the same scam. Fraudsters may take the time to build the trust and draw you into the game. A robocall with no answer is often the initial point of contact, so not even those calls are harmless.
What Is the Point of Robocalls That Hang Up?
Robocalls that hang up immediately are usually meant to verify your number. It means that the machine wants to confirm that the number is active and that a real person answered the phone. Those calls will be brief, and often the call gets disconnected as soon as you say hello.
The technology that most scammers use generates phone numbers based on just one number from a specific area or a specific operator. The software can generate hundreds of thousands of numbers that follow a particular pattern.
Not all of them will be real or active, so the fraudsters need to confirm which ones are in service. That is why the initial calls aim to verify that the number is legitimate. It’s enough to pick up and say something for the machine to authenticate the number. With the sophisticated sound recognition software, you don’t even have to speak. Sometimes it’s enough to cough or clear your throat.
Once they have the confirmation that the number is real, scammers can do the following:
- Put you on the calling list for further harassment
- Sell the number to another fraudulent business
- Use it to spoof their calls
Many robocalls that hang up come from scammers that gather numbers and sell them for thousands of dollars to other companies. If you received one or more silent robocalls, you should be careful with all future calls that offer something or make unusual demands.
Are All Robocalls Illegal?
There are legitimate robocalls, and this practice is not unlawful per se. That’s why it’s so hard to put an end to robocall frauds. Many legitimate businesses and even non-profit institutions use robocalls because they are an efficient and affordable way to pass information.
The cost-effectiveness of robocalls was what made them so appealing to the fraudsters. Setting up a robocall scam is way easier than you think. Internet-powered phones and relatively available software solutions enabled telephone scams to flourish in the last decade.
Some of the legitimate robocalls that you can receive are usually coming from:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) passing information about deadlines, policy changes, or tax irregularities
- Political campaigns, explaining their programs and reminding you to vote
- Charities asking for donations
- Campuses, schools, or universities letting you know about sudden changes in opening hours or closures
- Physician offices or pharmacies reminding you about appointments or informing you that your prescription is ready
Fraudsters started to develop their scams hiding behind these institutions, so there is a famous (ongoing) IRS scam that tries to get your financial details by claiming that you owe money for back taxes.
Telemarketing calls from real businesses are also illegal if the company does not have your written permission to put you on the calling list. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), you can remove yourself from the list any time you like. The company also has to inform you that you will be receiving robocalls as a part of its marketing campaign.
As the whole situation with robocall frauds is getting confusing, we have made a simple table that can help you see the difference between legitimate robocalls and scam calls. What is certain is that all robocalls that hang up are unlawful.
Followed by emails, texts, or snail mail that convey the same message
|Restricted to phone communication|
|Do not require to disclose any information|
Aim to extract sensitive details
Simply pass messages and allow you to process and check the information
Prompt you to press a number or follow up with an instant response
How to Handle Robocalls with No Answer?
The best way to handle any robocall is to hang up as soon as you realize that you are on the line with a machine. Robocalls that hang up are a bit trickier because they are designed to appear as accidental calls.
With the robocall epidemic plaguing the States, you should treat all calls that seem suspicious as potential scams. The best thing to do is avoid engaging in such calls altogether. Here are some simple rules you should follow:
- If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer the phone—Legitimate callers will call back, leave a voicemail, or text you
- If you do answer, don’t speak—A real caller will explain who they are and why they are calling, and will not repeat the same intro over again
- If you do speak, don’t say yes—Callers can make a recording of your voice and use it to authorize unwanted transactions with voice commands. They can also use it as a confirmation that you agreed to offers or deals that you never even saw
- If the caller urges you to take any action, don’t follow the instructions—Pressing keys or following any instructions should be avoided because it will only confirm that you are a real person and lead to more calls
- If the caller provides a number you should call back, don’t do it without double-checking—Even if you think that the call might be coming from a legitimate business or institution, don’t call back the number provided on the call, but find the number for yourself and call it to confirm the info you received on the robocall
- If the caller asks for any personal information, don’t disclose it—No honest caller would ask you for sensitive personal or financial details over the phone. If they insist, it’s a scam
How to Stop Robocalls That Hang Up?
With the robocall software continually evolving, it is impossible to stop robocalls entirely. You can get rid of most of the spam calls, but even with all the robocall blockers in the world, you should still expect your defenses to be breached from time to time.
The first thing to do is to put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. FTC created this list to stop unwanted telemarketing calls that were getting out of hand, and to protect people from phone scams.
Although it showed excellent results in the beginning, the Do Not Call List has its restrictions that have become evident lately. The biggest problem is that it only protects from phone numbers that are coming within the U.S.
Most legitimate businesses respect the list, but fraudsters tend to ignore it altogether. Robocall scams moved their operations overseas in recent years, so there are more Do Not Call List exceptions than ever before.
What’s good about the list is that it does keep annoying telemarketers at bay, and if you receive a sales robocall, you can be sure that it is spam or scam. In case you get a robocall that hangs up, and you are listed, you can expect more calls, and you can bet that they are fraudulent.
Additional options to protect yourself from spam calls include:
- Activating a spam-blocking service offered by your carrier
- Installing a robocall blocker from a third-party
- Installing a call blocker for landlines to defend your home phone
How to Stop Robocalls with No Answer on Your Mobile Phone?
Protecting your cell phone from robocalls is relatively easy. You can check the FCC guide to robocalls for additional information. The Commission instructed all carriers to add spam-blocking tools to every account by 2021. Most providers have added such services already, so you probably already have one automatically installed.
There are apps that you can download from third-parties that further filter calls and stop them from actually getting through to you. Both carriers and third-party apps have a basic free version and a premium one that comes with a fee.
Telephone Service Providers
All major carriers joined the government agencies in the war against robocalls, and their efforts have been successful. The carriers use software that screens calls before they come down to you, so most of them are blocked before you even get them.
Depending on the operator and the spam blocker version, you can choose one of the options below to handle spam calls:
- The calls can be blocked completely
- They can appear on the missed call list without ringing
- They can go straight to voicemail
- They can ring silently with a spam warning
AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer robocall and spam call blockers. Paid versions have additional features, so you can check with your carrier what the best option for you is. If you are still receiving robocalls, you should confirm whether the service has been activated on your number.
Third-party Apps for Blocking Robocalls
Robocalls that hang up as soon as you answer are equally disturbing as other spam calls. For additional protection, you can download a third-party app. Most of these apps use software that analyzes the incoming number.
If the number was used to make many brief calls in short intervals, the software flags it as spam and blocks it. Some of the apps work on digital home phones as well, so you can reduce the number of disturbing calls you get on your landline. The table below shows the most popular apps for blocking spam calls at the moment.
Blocking Robocalls That Hang Up on Your Landline
If your home phone uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), your options are pretty much the same as with your cell phone. You can check with your carrier what the most suitable solution for you is.
For landlines that use copper wires, the situation is a bit more complicated. Since apps and tools won’t work on traditional landlines, the only option is to install a call-blocking device. Although such gadgets do block calls successfully, you can only add 100 numbers to your list.
Since robocallers change their numbers for almost every call they make, the device can be inefficient. Traditional home phones are the number one target of scammers due to this fact.
Another way to protect yourself is to make a whitelist, which means that you will add all the numbers that you wish to receive calls from. All other callers will be automatically blocked. The downside is that you won’t be able to get phone calls from unknown numbers.
How to Report Robocalls That Hang Up?
Since the number of robocalls is on the rise, and all of us became the target of phone scammers, reporting robocalls is a small contribution to stopping this pest. There are three ways to do it:
You should not hesitate to report robocalls that hang up immediately because they are definitely illegal and will only lead to additional spam calls. Reporting as many robocallers as possible is essential for putting an end to this unlawful and exasperating activity.
Can DoNotPay Help with Robocalls?
DoNotPay is excellent at fighting back against robocalls with a great feature called RoboRevenge. The idea is to hit the fraudsters where it hurts the most—their wallets. With the help of DoNotPay, you can get up to $3000 from the annoying spam callers.
You will need to engage with the caller, though. If you get a robocall that hangs up, you can expect another call to come your way within days, if not hours. That’s the opportunity for some sweet robocall revenge.
The process is easy because DoNotPay does all the hard work for you. All you need to do is:
- Log on to DoNotPay via your web browser or iOS app when you get the call
- Choose the RoboRevenge option
- Create a free virtual credit card
- Provide the card details to the caller (rest assured that they will ask for it)
- Wait for DoNotPay to obtain the caller’s details (it will happen as soon as they try to make a transaction)
- Follow the instructions provided by DoNotPay to start a robocall lawsuit and get up to $3000
There is nothing dangerous or illegal about RoboRevenge. The DoNotPay virtual credit card is just a card number that is not tied to your bank account or any other funding source. It only appears like a real card to the caller.
Since calling you is illegal without written consent, the caller is already breaking the law. Even if your number is not on the Do Not Call List, the app will register you automatically. The Do Not Call List registration cannot expire, so if you are registered, your number will stay there until you request otherwise. The only issue is that lawsuits can only be made against callers and companies that are calling from the States.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do to Help?
DoNotPay introduced the world’s first robot lawyer that can help you if you are not in the position to hire a pricey legal consultant. If you want to get rid of an unfair fine or try to lower your bills, DoNotPay will be your new best friend.
- Canceling subscriptions or memberships
- Disputing traffic tickets
- Jumping the phone queue when getting in touch with customer service reps
- Fighting speeding tickets
- Dealing with issues with credit cards
- Getting refunds for delayed or canceled flights
- Contesting parking tickets
- Dealing with bills you are unable to pay for
- Getting revenge on other robocalls
- Suing people and companies in small claims court
- Scheduling a DMV appointment fast and easy