Scams and robocalls are a significant problem, and they can have a devastating impact on victims. Americans received an average of 26.3 robocalls per month, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 5.8 million reports of robocall scams. These scams can cost victims financially and can also be emotionally damaging.
There are a few things that you can do to protect yourself from robocalls. First, you can register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This will prevent most telemarketers from calling you. You can also use a call-blocking app to block robocalls, such as NomoRobo, which won the FTC robocall challenge.
It's essential to be aware of the different types of robocall scams. Some common scams include:
- Grandparent scams: A grandparent scam involves scammers calling people and pretending to be their grandchildren. The scammers will say they are in trouble and need money.
- IRS scams: An IRS scam involves scammers calling people and pretending to be from the IRS. The scammers will say that the person owes money to the IRS and that they need to pay immediately.
- Tech support scams: A tech support scam involves scammers calling people and pretending to be from a tech support company. The scammers will say that there is a problem with the person's computer and that they must pay to fix it.
- Romance Scams: A romance scam is a type of fraud where the scammer creates a fake online profile to gain a victim's trust and then uses that trust to manipulate the victim into sending money or personal information.
If you receive a robocall, there are a few things that you should do:
- Don't answer the call. If you don't recognize the number, don't answer the call. Scammers often use spoofed numbers, so even if you recognize the number, it might not be who you think it is.
- Don't press any buttons. If you do answer the call, don't press any buttons. Scammers can use these buttons to collect personal information from you.
- Hang up. If you answer the call and realize it's a scam, hang up immediately. Don't engage with the scammer.
How can you protect yourself?
In addition to the tips listed above, here are a few other things that you can do to protect yourself from robocalls and additional scams:
- Be careful about what information you share online. Scammers can use information that you share online to target you with scams. Be cautious about what information you share on social media, and ensure your privacy settings are set to private. You can also use a data removal solution such as DataSeal, which will remove your personal information ( phone number, home address, and date of birth) from public-facing people search websites and data brokers, making it unfindable.
- Keep your software up to date. Scammers often exploit software vulnerabilities to steal personal information. Make sure that you keep your software up to date.
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited offers. If you receive an unsolicited offer, be suspicious. Scammers often use unsolicited offers to trick people into giving them personal information or money. It is easy to feel nervous if you accidentally pick up a robocall and talk to an aggressive solicitor pretending to be someone else. The best thing to do is remain calm and hang up. Do not provide any personal information. Remember, you can always ask a friend for advice.
- Robocalls are often used to spread malware. When you answer a robocall, the scammer may try to install malware on your phone. This malware can then be used to steal your personal information or to control your phone.
- Robocalls can be used to collect sensitive information. Scammers may use robocalls to collect sensitive information, such as your Social Security or bank account numbers. This information can then be used to commit identity theft or other crimes.
If you are the victim of a robocall scam, it is important to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a complaint with the FTC online at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
By reporting robocall scams to the FTC, you can help to stop these scams from happening to other people.