Have you ever received a call to update your car warranty, but you have no car? Did the message sound like a recording? Well, that’s a robocall or an automated call. A robocall is a pre-recorded message delivered by a computerized dialer. These calls are often associated with telemarketing companies and political parties. But, scammers have been using robocalls to steal personal and financial information from victims.
Learn how to help avoid falling victim to robocalls and what to do if you fall for a robocall scam with these tips.
How to Handle Robocalls?
Robocalls can lead to identity theft. While some robocalls provide us with useful information such as prescription refill reminders and flight cancellations, most are from scammers who wish to steal our data. So, how do you handle such calls?
Steps to Avoid Robocalls
Don’t pick up calls from unknown callers or numbers.
Even if you pick up, hang up immediately. Once you’ve picked up the robocall, scammers can automatically know your number is active, so they keep on calling. If you let the call ring to the end, they think your number is inactive.
Don’t share your information with someone you don’t know.
Some automated calls might seem like they’re coming from a government agency or trusted company. But keep in mind reputable agencies and companies don’t ask for your personal information over the phone. If you didn’t call the number, don’t share your personal or financial data.
Don’t follow the robot’s instructions.
Sometimes the robots might prompt you to follow a set of instructions. Unfortunately, if you follow the instructions, the scammers can identify you as a potential victim, resulting in more future robocalls.
Report the Robocall to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
You can report the call to FTC by going to DoNotCall.gov. On the website, provide the number on your caller ID, your number, and, if possible, the exact date and time. The FTC uses this information to track and identify the scammers who made the call.
The FTC usually releases illegal robocall numbers to the public every business day. As a result, they are helping companies and individuals working on call blocking solutions. Law enforcement agencies can also use the number to pinpoint the perpetrators of the illegal calls.
Always check who’s calling first before receiving any phone call. For example, if it’s a government agency or company, hang up and head to their website to confirm their number. Don’t take chances with robocalls because you might lose your money and even your identity.
What To Do If You Fall for a Robocall Scam?
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky. Some individuals fall victim to these scams. Here’s what you can do if you fall victim to a robocall scam.
What to do if you shared credit card/bank information
Contact your bank immediately and explain what has happened in detail, including what the scam was and what data you shared. If the theft has already taken place, the credit card issuer or bank might help you get a reimbursement.
What to do if you shared your Social Security Number (SSN)
If you provide the scammer with your SSN, take action quickly. First, check your credit score to make sure your accounts are in order. Next, put a fraud alert on your credit files to help make sure creditors verify your identity before processing any credit. Also, contact the Office of Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online.
What to do if you shared password/ user info
Change your passwords and PIN. Do this for all of your accounts, including online banking accounts. This way, you can reduce the chances of scammers stealing your information or using your account for illegal activities.
How To Receive Fewer Robocall?
If you want to receive fewer robocalls, use call-blocking and call-labeling solutions. The solution you select depends on the device used to receive calls. It can be a traditional landline, VoIP, cell phone or home phone. Alternatively, you can sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry helps limit telemarketers from calling you. However, scammers won’t stop calling because they don’t care about the registry. So, the best thing is to hang up or never pick up an unknown number.
Always be vigilant of your calls. Avoid picking up suspicious calls and sharing your personal and financial information with unknown numbers. And you can sign up for identity theft protection to help monitor your credit and personal to keep cybercriminals at bay.