What Is A Robo Call And Why The FCC Might Be Blocking Them
Twenty-six billion. That is the number of robocalls that Americans received in 2018, which is a 46% increase compared to 2017. A robocall is when an auto dialer calls your personal phone number with a pre-recorded message on the other end. The point of a robocall is to get the receiver to input information by voice or your phone’s keypad. For the most part, a robocall is nothing more than an annoyance, especially during an election, but other times these calls can pose a risk to someone’s identity.
Robocallers pose a danger to those who fall prey to their scams since a majority of that auto diallers are not citizens of the United States. Due to this, these fraudsters can sometimes get away without facing consequences. Now, the FCC is looking into legislation that would limit robocalls and allow service providers the ability to block them automatically. Prior to the FCC stepping in, the only way to stop robocalls was to block the number or find a third party app which can filter them out. However, this push from the FCC is definitely in the interest of everyone who owns a phone.
Types of Robocall Scams
The types of robocalls in 2018 can help provide a roadmap of what to look out for in 2019. The most common types of robocalls in 2018 ranged from spoofing to IRS scams. These are the types of robocalls to look out for:
Spoofing:This type of call might be harder to spot since the caller will spoof a phone number of someone you know or use a local area code. The caller ID on your phone will show your spouse or friend is calling, but when you answer, you’re greeted with an automated message.
Health Insurance Scam:For whatever reason, the number of health insurance scam calls spike around late fall and winter. These calls can be especially dangerous due to anyone who can’t spot that these calls are nothing more than a scam. In most cases, the fraudster will try to get the victim to input personal information in hopes of acquiring financial gain.
Search Engine Optimization Scam:Business owners have enough to worry about with cybersecurity. First, employees might click on a phishing email and expose customer records. Second, hackers are always waiting and trying to penetrate the networks and security systems of a business. However, search engine optimization (SEO) calls are when a robocall tries to impersonate Google Ads, Google Maps, or other SEO services.
Typically, the call will tell the recipient that if they don’t pay a certain amount of money that their business will be taken off search results or appear as closed by Google and other search engines. This, however, is not how SEO works, and your business will not be penalized for not providing money to these fraudsters.
IRS Scams:Beginning in January through late spring is tax season. Typically, one of these calls will tell the recipient that they owe some form of a bill or more on their taxes. These callers also try to use scare tactics like telling the recipient that they will face fines or jail time if they do not comply.
The best way to avoid these types of calls is to check the number through a Google search. In most cases, the number calling you has called many others. A Google search will most likely pull up a forum or site that tells you if the number is safe or if the number is a scam.
How Robocallers Get Your Phone Number
There are many ways your number can get added to a list for robo-callers today. Unfortunately, some of them might be out of your control. For example, a data breach can expose your contact information to a plethora of shady characters on the black market. Or, services you’ve signed up for in the past might sell your contact information to various ad agencies and companies.
There are ways to stop some robocalls though through joining the the free National Do Not Call List. To do this, you can go to http://www.donotcall.gov/.or call the number 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. The list will prevent telemarketer calls but will not stop calls from charitable donations, politicians, spoofers, or scammers.
Are you the victim of fraud, mobile phone malware, phishing and more? Secure Forensics might be able to help. For a free phone consultation, contact us at 1-800-288-1407.