Insurance Blog
Monday, 15 October 2018 03:53

Can We Stop Robocalls & Scams Calls?

Telemarketing calls are both annoying and, in many cases, illegal. The following information is a compilation of consumer information published at the FCC and FTC websites as well as other sources. It is intended to help you recognize and avoid spam calls. Furthermore, you will discover options to reduce the number of daily calls that you receive.

What To Do When You Receive Robocalls

Take back control of your phone. File a complaint against robocall companies by using the FTC Complaint Assistant or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. 

Additonally, report unwanted calls and register your phone at the National Do Not Call Registry.

  1. You can register your home or mobile phone for free.
  2. If you received an unwanted call after your number was on the National Registry for 31 days, report it to the FTC.

To learn more about illegal robocalls and what the FTC is doing to stop them visit ftc.gov/robocalls.

How do I register?

Add your phone number for free by visiting donotcall.gov, or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). 

If you register online, you will receive a confirmation email from donotcall.gov. You must click on the link in the email within 72 hours to complete your registration.

How long does it take?

Your phone number should show up on the Registry the next day. Most sales calls will stop once your number has been on the Registry for 31 days. You can verify that your number is on the Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222.

If I register my number, will ALL unwanted calls stop?

No, the Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls. You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls.

In addition, companies may still call if you’ve recently done business with the company, or if you’ve given the company written permission to call you. However, if you ask a company not to call you again, it must honor your request. Record the date of your request.

What is caller ID spoofing?

According to the FCC, caller ID spoofing occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so that it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. It can also can be used legitimately, for example, to display the toll-free number for a business.

What is neighbor spoofing?

Neighbor spoofing -- also known as NPA-NXX spoofing -- is a form of caller ID spoofing used by telemarketers, scammers, and robocallers. Neighbor spoofing uses auto-dialing and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services to send unsolicited phone calls. Incoming calls are displayed as a phone number similar to your own to increase the likelihood that you will answer the call. By mimicking caller IDs as closely as possible, scammers may trick the unsuspecting call recipients into answering the phone, or at least what they hope. Neighbor spoofing is illegal.

Tips to avoid spoofing scams

You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. The first clue may be a number you do not recognize – or it could be a number similar to your own.

  • Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone, and the caller or a recording asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up. If the caller is asking for a payment, or claiming that the IRS has issued an arrest warrent against you, it's a scam. The IRS and government agencies don't call you with this informatiion, they send letters by mail.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.

How Neighbor Spoofing Works

Example: Back before we had mobile phones, phone number were assigned by locaton. For example, if your phone number was 203-950-5555, anyone could guess that your 203 area code (NPA) put you in Connecticut, and that your 950 local exchange (NXX) put you in a specific town. The same process is still valid today, but as area codes and exchanges get crowded, and as people move between cities while keeping their old numbers, it's not as precice. Therefore, if your area code is 908 and your local exchange is 555, your NPA-NXX would be 908-555.

What You Can Do If Your Number Is Being Spoofed

If you get calls from a number similar to your own, it’s likely that your number has been spoofed. First, do not answer any calls from unknown numbers, but if you do, explain that your telephone number is being spoofed and that you did not actually make any calls. You can also place a message on your voicemail letting callers know that your number is being spoofed. Usually scammers switch numbers frequently. It is likely that within hours they will no longer be using your number.

When is spoofing illegal?

Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value. Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation. However, spoofing is not always illegal. There are legitimate, legal uses for spoofing, like when a doctor calls a patient from her personal mobile phone and displays the office number rather than the personal phone number or a business displays its toll-free call-back number.

What is blocking or labeling?

If a telephone number is blocked or labeled as a "potential scam" on your caller ID, it is possible the number has been spoofed. Several phone companies and app developers offer call-blocking and labeling services that detect whether a call is likely to be fraudulent based on call patterns, consumer complaints or other means.
FCC rules do not prohibit call blocking or labeling technologies, however the FCC is very concerned about ensuring that lawful calls are completed and has encouraged providers who block calls to establish a means for a caller whose number is blocked to contact the provider and remedy the problem.
You can legally block the transmission of your phone number when you make calls, so your number will appear as "unknown." Doing so is not spoofing.

What are the caller ID rules for telemarketers?

FCC rules specifically require that a telemarketer:

  • Transmit or display its telephone number or the telephone number on whose behalf the call is being made, and, if possible, its name or the name of the company for which it is selling products or services.
  • Display a telephone number you can call during regular business hours to ask to no longer be called. This rule applies even to companies that already have an established business relationship with you.

 

Enforcement of the Do Not Call Registry

The FTC takes aggressive action against telemarketers and companies that violate their telemarketing sales rule and FTC Act. Visit their website for details.

Earlier this month, 35 State Attorneys General issued a joint letter urging the federal government to allow telecommunications companies to block robocalls. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy claims the companies have the technology and should be allowed to use it. Let's hope their efforts result in the end of robocalls.

More Informational Links About Robocalls

 



Sources: FTC, FCC, and robokiller.com

 

Read 363 times Last modified on Wednesday, 24 October 2018 02:23

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