Your phone rings. It’s a number you don’t recognize. You’re curious who it might be. Do you answer it?
To be safe, we suggest you don’t.
If you’ve noticed an uptick in Robo calls lately, it’s not your imagination. According to this Washington Post story, there are 2.4 billion Robo calls every month. It’s the No. 1 consumer complaint the FCC gets from the public, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told the Washington Post.
There’s a new tactic the scammers are using you should know about: the number that pops up on your caller ID shows a local area code, which may make it more likely you’ll pick up the call. There’s a name for this: Spoofed robocall, according to the FCC.
“Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally,” according to a recent guide from the FCC.
Basically, they want to steal your identity.
The caller ID information displayed is fake and the person could be calling you from out of state or even out of the country. Which brings us to another type of robocall scam.
Have you had your phone ring once or twice and then stop? It’s likely the common one-ring wireless phone scam. While it’s tempting to call the number back, you definitely shouldn’t. For more information on this and four area codes you should never, ever call back (unless you want to be charged for expensive international calls!) read our recent blog post.
What Can You Do?
So is there anything you can do to stop the influx of calls? The good news is there are plenty of free apps in the Google Play store that let you screen your incoming cell phone calls and warn you of potential fraudulent calls. You can even block them. According to this CNBC story, the services use crowd-sourcing along with info from public databases and their own algorithms to detect annoying Robo calls. The story highlights three options, including Truecaller, which is available for Android and Apple and has the highest Google play rating of 4.3 (more than 665,000 reviews).
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FCC), which will help the FTC detect patterns of fraud and abuse and hopefully lead to some of the scammers being shut down, like the Miami man who faces a $120 million fine from the FCC for the alleged 96 million robocalls he orchestrated.
Are you covered for identity theft?