Whether you’re enjoying a quiet dinner or perhaps concentrating on a work project from home and the mobile rings, but you’re met with a pre-recorded message that directs you to wait for the representative to come on the line to speak with you, it can be beyond the point of frustration.
According to the “National Center On Law & Elder Rights,” NCLER these are the tactics used by many telemarketers or scammers, and debt collectors to reach their intended party whether the person wishes to be disturbed or not.
A computer program referenced as an “autodialer” is responsible for generating the “robocall” or automated phone call. In many cases, after picking up the line, a pre-recorded message will play, and you will either engage with a “bot,” or there will be silence until a live rep comes on, speaking as if they’ve known you for eternity in an effort to gain trust and sell you products.
In some instances, the robocalls are meant as a form of advertisement, are intended to scam someone, will advocate for a cause, or will provide information that you didn’t ask for. But how do you make the madness stop?
It seems to worsen as time goes on, technology advances, and these places develop practices that become more difficult to escape. Let’s look at some potential methods for getting rid of these bullies and not buying anything they have to offer.
What are permissible telemarketing calls?
According to the “FCC” or “Federal Communications Commission,” well over half of the complaints received by them are in reference to unwanted telephone calls. In contrast, in the year 2020, the “FTC” or “Federal Trade Commission” received nearly 3 million complaints in reference to robocalls.
Unless there is written permission from the recipient granting the contact from the robocalls, the FCC forbids the activity. While prohibited by the FCC, specific telemarketing behavior is acceptable under FTC guidelines without needing any sort of consent from the homeowner. These include:
Medical care providers
With the new healthcare technology incorporating digital patient records, scheduling practices, and with result processing, patients have the option of receiving robocalls at home to remind them of their scheduled appointments, refills on prescriptions, and other important information if they sign paperwork granting this permission.
Robocalls are often sent by charitable organizations with messages to fundraise. With these callers, however, they reach out to current members or donors who have gifted previously. These calls are made with the opportunity to “opt out” of receiving any calls in the future.
These robocalls tend to be limited to election seasons. They are permitted but are not generally abusive or frequent.
Collectors have permission to use robocalling in an effort to reclaim any outstanding funds from debtors. Still, if there are attempts from organizations to sell individuals services that mean to help them reduce their debt, these stand as not only prohibited but deemed as illegal.
These types of robocalls are strictly for informational purposes; there is no solicitation of goods or services permitted. They fall in line with alerts, notifications, or reminders such as messages concerning school, reminders of scheduled appointments, airline details like canceled flights, and on.
Any other sort of robocall has to legally receive written permission from you, allowing them to reach out to speak to you. Unfortunately, suppose you answer the call unknowingly and interact with the caller or hit any of the buttons as they suggest.
In that case, the company contacting you can determine if the phone number is functional and can make money by selling your number to another company or bombarding your number with calls in a harassing manner.
Is there a way to stop telemarketing calls?
Telemarketers can become frustrating and exceptionally annoying if you engage with them. The idea is to try not to do that. It can be challenging, particularly if your phone is constantly ringing, but there are things you can do to stop the harassment and decrease the risks associated with scammers.
A few helpful hints and some tools you can use to try to outsmart the telemarketer include:
When an unknown call comes on the line, your suspicion should be piqued instantly. That’s especially true if the other person addresses you as if they are familiar with you, but you know nothing about them, plus the individual does not have permission to contact your number.
Telemarketers have the capacity to do much damage to your information even without you providing personal details; merely wasting your time is significant.
If the person claims to be from a specific business, take down that company’s information, hang up from the telemarketer, and contact that business directly using your invoice or the official business website if it’s someone you typically do business with.
Don’t interact with the telemarketer anymore than is necessary to avoid being the victim of a scam.
Avoid saying “Yes”
The telemarketer’s ploy is to get you to answer their questions with the primary goal of getting you to reply “yes.” Most often, when the call comes in, the first question will invariably be “can you hear me okay,” to which most people will just automatically reply with a “yes” without thinking anything of it.
The problem is a Robo caller is recording the conversation and will save that reply to use as your confirmation for allowing all future calls from that telemarketing entity.
Don’t touch the buttons
The automated caller will typically request that a button be pushed in order to speak with a representative. If you hit one of the buttons, you could grant this company permission to continue to contact you in the future.
These callers are contacting you illegally; if there is a message that indicates you can press a button to opt out of future calls, don’t press the button, they’re scamming you.
You want to avoid pressing any buttons with these telemarketers. Instead, try to either wait for a real person or hang up the call.
Keep personal information private
Legitimate companies will rarely ask you to confirm confidential information over the telephone or via email like an address, account number, social security number, passwords, mother’s maiden name, credit card numbers, debit information, or other critical personnel details. These things are usually handled through the mail or in person.
If an individual calls claiming to be from a company that you typically do business with wanting to confirm details on your account, take the business’s name and hang up.
You can then contact the company they claim to be with to find out what they need. Most likely, that business will have no reference to the call.
Disconnect the call
Suppose you’re speaking with a caller you don’t recognize or who has no permission to contact you, and you’re attempting to understand the reason for the call. When it becomes a bizarre conversation, or it appears the person is being dishonest, you should hang up the line immediately.
Telemarketers can either already have a great deal of information on you and try to keep you talking to see what more they can collect, or they may only have your number and hope they’ll get more details by engaging in what can turn out to be an odd conversation.
Whatever their angle is, the companies can do a great deal of damage if they choose to.
Don’t answer the call
It can be challenging to know whether a call coming in is a spam call, especially if the robocall is under a “spoofed number.” That means the individual intentionally sends the caller ID wrong information to hide their true identity, so you’ll believe it’s a local caller. The suggestion for everyone is to avoid answering calls from numbers unfamiliar to you.
If you’re afraid you might be missing a call from perhaps a physician or the pharmacy or another professional, pull the number and reach out to them to see if they might have phoned you if you don’t know their number off hand.
It’s better than getting mixed up with a Robo caller who will then start harassing you relentlessly and likely sell your number to others who will do the same.
You have legal rights when it comes to telemarketing. You do not have to allow these calls to come into your home without standing strong and declaring that you want these individuals to take you off of their call lists.
But it would help if you were firm in your directive indicating that you precisely want to be removed from their call list and then contact the “National Do Not Call list” to register your number so these people can no longer contact you.
Legitimate telemarketers refer to this list to prevent contacting mobile and landlines on the list. That might not stop the illegal operations, but authoritative organizations like the FCC and FTC are doing their best to do so.