You’re just about to sit down at the dinner table when your phone goes off, again. It seems like no matter how many times you’ve told telemarketers to stop calling, they continuously call over and over. Unfortunately, telemarketing is a big industry, and telemarketing fraud has become a popular scam tactic. If you’re looking to protect yourself, you’re not alone.
To protect yourself from telemarketing fraud and unwanted calls:
Confirm All phone numbers before disclosing any information
If you receive a call from a business, always look up the phone number before confirming anything on the account. Many times, thieves will call an individual pretending to be from a financial institution or utility, in hopes of confirming parts of your identity to use online. These people are not associated with the company in any way, leaving your information exposed.
Use the phone number attached to the caller ID to confirm the business or name associated with the account. If the number doesn’t show as the main call center, end the call and phone the company back directly.
Never give information out on inbound phone calls
Scammers and telemarketers want to take advantage of your vulnerability. That’s why they use high-pressure tactics to get you to disclose personal information on the call. Never give out your name, number, or any account verifying information to an unknown caller on the phone. The same holds if they’re contacting you from the government about your computer or your bank account.
Any registered business will not demand personal information on an inbound call, especially if they’re trying to sell you something in the process. Always offer to call the company back for account security, getting the phone number from the business’s website.
Register with Government Do-Not-Call Agencies
If a company is acting in bad faith, they’re not going to follow government-mandated policies regardless, but it will remove the valid telemarketers from contacting you. Always confirm the registries are through the government branches online before registering (otherwise, you may be giving your data to companies that will sell your data).
When speaking with a company, always request that your number be removed from their contact list. If they continue to contact you, file a report with the FTC.
File Report with the FTC
Although it may not stop the unwanted calls, reporting the number to the FTC is another way to prevent unwanted calls after registering your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. Chances are, if a business is contacting you after registering your phone number, they’re a scammer and not a reputable business.
Block all unwanted calls
All phones, whether cell phones or registered landline, can block numbers. If you receive a call from a business or telemarketer, simply highlight the number on your cell phone and block the number under your settings. Keep in mind many scammers will use the internet to make phone calls, meaning you may receive multiple calls. Simply block each number as it contacts you.
Answer and repeatedly press a button
Although this tip is not a conventional idea, it is highly effective with telemarketers and robocalls (calls that have an automated voice instead of a live person). When a telemarketer contacts you, answer the phone and repeatedly press any button on your device.
The audio associated with the number will often trigger a hang-up from the robocall, signaling it as a fax number. If a scammer is on the other end of the line, the audio is often loud and annoying, which will have them end the call (and often remove you from their list too). This also works when you’ve answered a call and realized that the number is a telemarketer or unwanted caller.
No one likes to receive unwanted or unsolicited phone calls, especially when scamming, phishing, and fraud are becoming multi-billion dollar problems. By taking these steps to safeguard your information, you’ll make sure that you don’t fall victim to their deception. Better yet, you’ll make sure your identity stays secure, preventing you from becoming a statistic too.