<p>If you are here, you’re tired of those robocalls and spam calls you received on your landline or mobile phones. We do have laws and regulations that address the problem.</p><p>However, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the institutions and service providers allowed by law to call you. They include the following:</p><ul><li>Political organizations</li><li>Charities</li><li>Telephone surveyors</li><li>Some organizations with which you have a relationship.</li></ul><p>Before implementing your strategies on stopping telemarketers from calling you, let’s look at the government institutions tasked with protecting people from unwanted phone calls.</p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Federal Communications Commission (FCC) </span></h2><p>The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress and tasked with implementing and enforcing America’s communications laws and regulations. It protects U.S. citizens from unwanted phone calls using the following strategies:</p><ul><li>Issuing large sums of money in enforcement actions against illegal robocalls</li><li>Providing all necessary resources to phone companies enables them to block illegal or unwanted calls using applications by default before reaching consumers</li><li>Allowing consumers to deploy tools that block calls from phone numbers that don’t appear on their contact or any ‘whitelist'</li><li>Requiring phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication to help reduce illegal spoofing<br />Making consumer complaint data available to industry stakeholders enables better call-blocking and labeling solutions.</li></ul><p>The National Do Not Call Registry lets you limit the telemarketing calls you receive by allowing you to register your phone number. If you are a business that wants to stay compliant by avoiding calling phone numbers on the National DNC list, you can use Data247 Do-Not-Call (USA) service, which is highly cost-effective.</p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">How to Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Avoid Phone Scams</span></h2><p>General Phone Calls Tips</p><ul><li>Don’t answer from unknown phone numbers; if you do, hang up immediately</li><li>Never give out personal information such as bank account and social security numbers, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unsolicited calls and those that seem suspicious</li><li>If you answer the phone and the caller or a pre-recorded voice tells you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, hang up. This is a common trick usually used by scammers to identify potential targets</li><li>If you get a call from purports to represent a company or government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or the company’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. Genuine companies will usually send you a written notification to your mailing address before calling you</li><li>Set a password for your voicemail account, as hackers could quickly access your voicemail account if it doesn’t have a password</li></ul><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Provider’s Tools and Services</span></h2><p>All major wireless providers offer various tools and solutions to help you block or flag calls:</p><p><strong>AT&T Call Protect App</strong></p><ul><li>Detects and blocks person(s) likely to be fraudsters</li><li>Sends you alerts and notifications of suspected spam calls</li><li>Allows you to block unwanted callers through the app with its blocklist feature</li></ul><p><strong>Verizon Call Filter</strong></p><ul><li>Spam detection</li></ul><p>Get real-time alerts that help you detect spam callers</p><ul><li>Spam Filter</li></ul><p>Block high-risk calls automatically by risk level</p><ul><li>Spam Call Logs</li></ul><p>Keep track of all identified spam and blocked calls</p><p><strong>T-Mobile Scam ID</strong></p><ul><li>Anti-scam protections</li></ul><p>Scam ID, Scam Block, Caller ID</p><ul><li>Comprehensive Caller ID</li></ul><p>Automatically know who is calling</p><p><strong>U.S Cellular Call Guardian App</strong></p><ul><li>Automatic call network blocking and identification</li><li>Automatically identifies high-risk calls and blocks them before they reach your phone.</li><li>Displays suspicious calls on caller I.D. as ‘potential fraud’ or ‘potential spam.’</li><li>Reject anonymous calls automatically on your landline</li><li>Simple phone calls show identifiable phone numbers, while robocalls and spammers’ phone numbers show up as blocked, unknown, or private numbers on your caller I.D.</li></ul><p><strong>Tip</strong><br />Here’s the good news: you can stop all anonymous calls without interfering with genuine calls.<br />If you use a landline, try accessing the ‘Anonymous Call Rejection’ feature by activating it by dialing *77. You’ll hear three beeps. Hang up, and any call that hides its number gets rejected. This service varies depending on your carrier and carries an extra charge. However, it’s worth every penny.</p><p><strong>Block Individual Phone Numbers</strong></p><p>Every iPhone and Android phone can block specific numbers. It isn’t precisely foolproof, as it can’t possibly stop every robocall or spammer number, but you’ll at least be able to block the recurring ones.</p><p><strong>Set Your Phone on Do Not Disturb</strong></p><p>Your Android or iPhone phone’s built-in Do Not Disturb Mode blocks all unwanted calls, robocalls, telemarketing, and spam calls; excerpt your trusted contacts or favourites.</p><p>You may miss some legitimate calls when the mode is on, but the good thing is that there is an option for leaving a voice message, which genuine callers can always utilize.</p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Best Apps to Block Robocalls</span></h2><p>Several call-blocking apps help you identify the caller and block unwanted calls. Here are the top call-blocking apps in the industry:</p><p><strong>Nomorobo</strong></p><p>Nomorobo offers real-time call-blocking by running a caller’s phone number against a growing list of robocalls, telemarketers, and phone scammers. It runs on both iOS and Android platforms.</p><p>How it works</p><p>Nomorobo lets the phone ring once, then tries to identify the caller. If the number is on the app’s robocall list, the app will automatically block the call for you. Nomorobo is free to use for 14 days, and after that, it will cost you $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a year.</p><p><strong>Truecaller</strong></p><p>The Truecaller app lets you know who’s behind an unknown number and runs on iOS and Android.</p><p>How it Works</p><p>You copy and paste the number into the app’s search bar, then Truecaller will search that number from its spam number database of over 250 million users. Another Truecaller feature is when a suspicious number of calls and ample warning in red appears, telling you it’s a spam call.</p><p>When you swipe the number upwards, the app automatically blocks the caller and adds them to the spam list. The Truecaller app has a free and ad-free version and a premium version with extra features for $2.99 per month.</p><p><strong>Hiya</strong></p><p>Hiya app is a Caller ID, and the block app is perfect for identifying calls you want to accept and blocking both calls and texts you want to avoid. It’s free on both Apple and Android gadgets and is simple to use.</p><p><strong>Call Control</strong></p><p>The Call Control app automatically blocks spam calls and those from numbers you want to avoid. It allows you even to block entire area codes, such as 888.</p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Mobile Phones that Automatically block Robocalls</span></h2><p>Several different smartphone models have built-in spam and robocall identification and protection in place. Some of these phone models are:</p><p><strong>Samsung’s flagship Galaxy & Note</strong></p><p>These phones have a native Smart Call feature that automatically screens and flags suspicious numbers.</p><p><strong>Google’s Pixels & Nexus Android One</strong></p><p>These phones have built-in spam call protection, enabling a Caller ID feature that warns if a suspected spam call or robocall is received. The Caller ID feature then allows the user to block the number or whitelist it if the spam flagging is an error.</p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Common Telemarketing Scams</span></h2><p>Your best defense against scammers is to be informed, educated, and cautious. Here are some of the common telemarketing scams:</p><p><strong>Caller ID Spoofing</strong></p><p>Spoofing refers to the practice of a caller deliberately changing the number and the name displayed on the caller I.D. to disguise the caller’s identity. This is a favourite strategy used by scammers.</p><p><strong>Grandparent Scam</strong></p><p>The grandparent scam is pegged on the notion that grandparents love to receive calls from their grandchildren. Scammers often play on fear with the grandparent scam. A scammer pretends to be your grandchild in trouble and needs money. They usually tell you not to tell their parents and sometimes hand over the phone that they identify as their lawyer. If you receive such a call and it sounds suspicious, it probably is. Hang up immediately.</p><p><strong>Utility payment Scams</strong></p><p>This scam involves a caller informing you that your utility payment is due. You risk disconnection unless you settle the payment immediately over the phone using a prepaid credit card. Such calls are scams, as utility companies will never ask you to make a payment in such a manner.</p><p>Using prepaid cards is the same as using cash. Therefore, it becomes challenging to trace and catch these scammers if they use prepaid cards, as no accounts are associated with the card.</p><p><strong>IRS Payment Scam</strong></p><p>The caller impersonates an Internal Revenue Service in this scam and demands due taxes. Some scammers will spoof the IRS toll-free telephone number to appear as if the IRS is calling. Others can even recite your Social Security number's last four digits for you to make themselves seem more believable.</p><p>Data247 is an on-demand data service that helps organizations comply with Federal Do-Not-Call regulations by accessing the information on those phone numbers on the Federal Do-Not-Call list to avoid penalties and fines.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertmuita/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Robert Muita</a></em></span><br /> </p><p> </p><h3><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Robert Muita</span></h3><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are the challenges faced by businesses due to Telemarketing Scams?</span></span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Telemarketing scams can pose significant challenges to businesses, including reputation damage, loss of revenue, legal and regulatory issues, increased costs, damage to customer relationships, and operational disruptions. Businesses must proactively protect themselves and their customers from these scams.</span></p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. Is spam a cybersecurity threat?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Yes, spam can be considered a cybersecurity threat, as it can potentially cause harm to individuals and organizations by introducing malicious software or phishing attacks, among other things.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">For example, a spam message may contain a link to a fake login page that is designed to steal a user's login credentials or to a malware-infected website that can install malicious software on a user's computer. In some cases, spam messages may also contain attachments infected with malware, such as viruses or ransomware.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Spam may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can pose a significant cybersecurity threat to individuals and organizations, highlighting the need for effective spam filters, employee training, and other security measures.</span></p><p> </p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What are the strategies to tackle telemarketing scams?</span></h2><p>There are several strategies that individuals and businesses can use to tackle telemarketing scams:</p><p><strong>Stay Informed</strong></p><p>Stay up to date on the latest telemarketing scams and common tactics used by scammers. This can help you recognize and avoid potential scams before they cause harm.</p><p><strong>Screen Your Calls</strong></p><p>Use caller ID or call-blocking tools to screen calls from unknown numbers and avoid answering calls from numbers that you don't recognize.</p><p><strong>Be Sceptical</strong></p><p>Be skeptical of unsolicited calls, particularly those that ask for personal or financial information. Legitimate businesses typically don't ask for sensitive information over the phone.</p><p><strong>Don't Give Out Personal Information</strong></p><p>Never give out personal or financial information over the phone unless you know the caller is legitimate.</p><p><strong>Report Scams</strong></p><p>Report any suspected telemarketing scams to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or local law enforcement agencies.</p><p><strong>Use Call-blocking Tools</strong></p><p>Use call-blocking tools and services to help identify and block known scam numbers.</p><p><strong>Educate Others</strong></p><p>Educate family members, friends, and colleagues about how to recognize and avoid telemarketing scams.</p><p><strong>Register with the Do Not Call Registry</strong></p><p>Individuals can register with the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls they receive.</p><p><strong>Implement Fraud Prevention Measures</strong></p><p>Businesses can implement fraud prevention measures, such as verifying the identity of callers, using encryption and other security measures, and training employees to recognize and avoid scams.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>
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