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Many people receive phone calls from scammers on a near-daily basis. These calls are more than just an annoyance. While many robocalls seem obviously fraudulent, even the most cautious person may be reeled in by one of the more sophisticated scams out there. More vulnerable people, such as older adults, might not immediately recognize the signs of a robocall scam, and the results can be devastating.

Here’s how to protect yourself or your loved one from becoming the next victim of a robocall scam.

Common Robocall Scams

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has published a list of the most common types of robocall scams reported to the agency, which include:

  • Auto warranty scams that purport to sell an extension of your car’s manufacturer warranty
  • Amazon suspicious charge scams
  • Apple tech support scams
  • Social Security Administration scams
  • Utility company rebate scams
  • Student loan debt relief scams
  • IRS scams

Join the Do-Not-Call List

The FTC also maintains the National Do Not Call Registry. Robocallers and telemarketers may not call anyone who has listed their number on the registry. People can list their landlines and mobile phone numbers for free. After 31 days, a person who has listed their number on the Do Not Call Registry can report robocallers to the FTC. However, specific organizations may continue to call you after you’ve placed your number on the registry, including charities soliciting donations, political groups, survey organizations, and debt collectors. 

Send Calls from Unknown Numbers to Call Screening or Voicemail

The best way to avoid becoming the victim of a robocall scam is to not answer calls from unknown numbers. However, if you run a business or expect a family member or friend to call you from a number you might not recognize, you may feel compelled to answer every call that comes to your phone.

Fortunately, many newer phones offer call screening features where an automated voice or your recorded message prompts a caller to explain the purpose of their call, with the phone providing you a real-time transcript of the caller’s response. Call screening can help you quickly determine whether you have received a potentially legitimate call or a robocall.

Alternatively, you can send unknown callers to voicemail and listen to any messages later.

Block Known Robocaller Numbers

After getting robocalls, go into your phone’s call history and block the number so it cannot ring your phone again. Many phone companies also allow you to report numbers that initiate scam calls or text messages. 

Call Back on Official Numbers

When you receive a seemingly legitimate call from an organization such as your bank, a retailer you’ve purchased products from, a charity, or a government agency like the IRS or Social Security Administration, you can avoid falling into a robocall scam by ending the call as soon as possible and looking up the company’s or agency’s official number on their website. Call the organization back at the official number, and a representative can tell you whether you received a legitimate phone call and help you resolve the purpose of that call. 

Never Give Out Personal Information

Unless you’ve called an organization or government agency at its official number, never give out personal or financial information after receiving an unsolicited phone call. One of the key signs of a robocall scam includes the caller trying to get personal information from you as quickly as possible, such as your date of birth, address, Social Security Number, bank account or credit card numbers, or online account user names and passwords.

Organizations often advise you never to provide complete account numbers, user names, or passwords over the phone. If a caller asks you for your personal information, hang up and call back the organization they claimed to work for at the official number listed on their website.

Contact a Consumer Protection Attorney If You’ve Become the Victim of a Robocall Scam

If you’ve suffered financial losses or other harm due to a robocall scam, get the dedicated, compassionate legal representation you need to seek compensation and justice. Contact Lerhman Law today to discuss your legal options in a confidential consultation with a consumer protection lawyer.