Some people get between four to six spam calls in a day, and others might get a lot more. You may be considered lucky if you receive only one or two per week. Whichever the case, you’re not alone. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consumers in the U.S. were recipients of 4 billion spam calls per month in 2020.
If you're wondering why these constant spam calls won't stop, this article is loaded with tips to give you an answer. But first, let's find out what spam calls actually are.
Spam calls are unsolicited and unwanted calls that are made without requesting the recipient's prior permission. Calls of this sort are typically irrelevant to those who receive them, and come from foreign and local phone numbers. Often, it's a scammer on the other side using a VoIP number to imitate a number you would recognize. At times, it could be a robocall delivering a pre-recorded message. Other times, spammers may use your area code to spoof caller ID to match numbers in your neighborhood or city. Meanwhile, they could be running a scam from somewhere in Asia, Europe, or Africa.
Spammers and scammers are ever-adapting in the way they operate. Sometimes, even with phone number ID tools, identifying spam calls can be challenging. Even more, some people have reportedly received spam calls from their own numbers! Without a doubt, constant spam calls can leave recipients feeling on-edge and harassed.
VoIP means Voice-over internet protocol or Voice-over IP. Many regular people use VoIP. You can make international calls, get special device features, and change your phone number with VoIP technology. Unfortunately, it is also an integral part of how spammers operate. Spammers usually make their VoIP calls using the web instead of phones.
With the VoIP, spammers can make calls via the internet and imitate phone numbers of different countries. This doesn't stop you from receiving calls from them because blocking one number only means that they'll simply imitate another number to call you.
Essentially, the VoIP numbers that spammers use are not limited by geographical location. With stable internet connections, scammers can make calls and spoof caller ID from anywhere in the world. VoIP numbers can also function on different devices at once, and owners need not buy expensive hardware. What's more, they are protected by IP technologies, enhanced identity management systems, and solid encryptions.
Spam calls aren't necessarily or specifically targeting your number. If you've been getting more spam calls than usual, here are some solid reasons it is happening:
Your county or state might be an intentional target for spammers, and your number is just one of the many random numbers on their list. More often than not, spammers are more likely to be calling you from overseas than from the United States. Suppose you've been getting incessant unwanted international calls from a particular country you have never visited for business or pleasure. In that case, you should try blocking the country code on your caller ID apps.
Another reason you might be getting so many spam calls is that it is getting closer to Christmas. Most times, scammers execute this in conjunction with mail-related scams too. For this reason, they may call you pretending to need import tax payments or advance payments on packages addressed to you.
People signing up for sketchy sites often submit personal details like their email and phone number in the process. Some of these websites go as far as selling your information to spam callers. Thus you must only share your personal information with trusted websites and on secure platforms. So, if you've experienced a sudden spike in the number of spam calls you receive, backtrack on your internet activity and see if you've compromised your phone number.
Spam calls increase in the months leading up to significant election periods in some countries. Although it is legal for political parties to use robocalls in campaigns, the use has unfortunately increased political scams and harassing spam calls.
In the 2020 US election, an unknown number reportedly made millions of calls warning people to stay home on election day. The United States isn't the only place dealing with election time spammers. Other nations have this issue too.
Millions of taxpayers in the US are confronted with loads of spam and robocalls from scammers every tax season. Although people still fall victim to these phone scams, they shouldn't have to work on anyone. The IRS never calls taxpayers on the phone, and if they have reason to do so, they mail first about the issue on hand. Some of these spam callers claiming to be from the IRS threaten people with police arrests and jails if they don't send funds. All of these go against the ethics of the IRS concerning reaching out to taxpayers. If you are in doubt, call the IRS customer service. It will only take 30 minutes to confirm whether a call is legit or not.
Since late 2019, the world has been battling a widespread health crisis brought about by the Coronavirus. The stock and real estate markets are going crazy too. During hard times like these, scammers are at it again, and they will be looking to take advantage of your uncertainty in any way they can. So if someone calls you about an unexpected and fishy business opportunity you never showed interest in, they aren't just spammers, but scammers.
If there's something everyone who's received a series of spam calls has in common, it's the fact that they are downright annoying. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself from these spam calls and potential scams:
They say prevention is better than cure. For spam calls, the easiest way to prevent them is to safeguard your personal information.
Do not give out your personal information and vital details to unknown numbers and callers, even if they claim to be from your bank or work. Think about it: why would your HR representative suddenly need your bank details on a Wednesday evening?
Companies usually have dedicated numbers they use for callbacks written on their websites. If you think a caller is an imposter, hang up and do a quick check on the real company website for their customer service numbers. Suppose you don't want to come off as rude. Politely ask the caller to call back in a few minutes because your hands are full. Then, run a reverse phone search on the number to avoid releasing personal information to scammers.
Your voice on recording might be all that incessant spam caller needs to scam you of your funds. Scammers now use voice synthesizers to generate speech. All they need is a sample of your voice. So, they get you to say sensitive words that they can use to authorize credit card charges in your name. So, if you see a number you don't trust or aren't familiar with, do not engage it.
If you are getting so many unsolicited calls, register your number on the Do Not Call Registry. There's a fair chance your spam caller is a telemarketer trying to get to you with robocalls.
While this is legal, if they're doing so without your permission, it is illegal. Putting your phone number on that list will stop marketers from getting your number.
If your phone doesn't have in-built settings for call blocking, you can block them through phone blocking apps. On Apple and Android application stores, you will find tons of mobile apps dedicated to caller identification and blocking unwanted calls. While some of them are free, others offer more premium services for a fee. Make sure to read the reviews before installing any app. Many call blocking apps also collect data on their users.
If your telephone or mobile phone service provider does offer blocking services, then you consider using them. Most telephone providers provide their users with tools or services to help block spam phone calls and be activated without charge.
Sometimes phone users waiting for essential calls like one from an interview or a new friend end up getting spam calls or even scammers. If you're unsure of the number calling you, the first best thing to do is not answer it. Important callers like a new employer will readily leave you a voicemail. So, check and clean your virtual voicemail box to create room for those essential calls you missed.
If you believe you have given a scam caller sensitive information, check your bank account right away for charges you did not authorize. Better still, contact your bank's customer service immediately. There are at least three ways to reach Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America customer service agents. If there are unauthorized charges on your card, you can reach out to the merchant immediately to reverse the transaction or initiate a chargeback with your creditor.
If your phone has been hacked as a result of spam calls, make sure to take the proper steps to remove the hacker from your phone.
Scammers regularly improve their tricks and techniques as anti-fraud technology improves. But, you don't have to rely on technology as protection from fraudsters. If you ever get a call saying you won a lottery and the callers asked you to send an advance fee to cover taxes, it is a scam. The same goes for technical support scams when you know there is nothing wrong with your computer.
Suppose you get calls from a supposed American Airlines customer service agent informing you of fictitious travel rewards. If you never flew American in the past few months, why would their agents contact you out of the blue? Tell the scammer off, hang up, and block the number.