Every month, the FTC and FCC hear from more than 150,000 individuals complaining about robocalls. If everyone played by the rules, the only types of robocalls consumers would receive would be strictly informational or from a nonprofit (also political calls – because even legal robocalls can still be annoying). Unfortunately, most robocalls these days are both illegal and annoying. According to the FCC and the TCPA Rule, companies “require prior express written consent to deliver an autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing call to a cell phone, and require prior express written consent to deliver a prerecorded telemarketing message to a residential landline.” If you didn’t give your consent, then it’s illegal. If they’re trying to sell you a good or service, it’s also illegal.
We’d like to think that someday soon, long gone will be the days of answering an unknown call with hopeful anticipation only to be asked to take a survey or learn that you’ve been approved for a loan! (that you didn’t apply for….). In the meantime, with modern technology on our side, here are six steps you can take to avoid these pesky robocallers:
- Your phone number is not a gift. Don’t give it out. Don’t want people calling your number? Don’t spread it around like chicken pox at a 2nd grade lunch table. Whether you list it on Facebook, Craigslist, online forms, etc., spiders will pick up your number wherever you put it down. Take note of that tiny font that you never read; you could be granting them access to your number.
- Download a spam blocking app. If you’re already getting the same calls day after day (I’m looking at you, 202 area code), then bad news, you’re on their list. Thankfully, it’s 2016. We have apps that can fix that. For example, Whitepages ID will block robocalls and robotexts for your Android or iOS device.
- Block the caller. Maybe you’re not getting a ton of calls. Perhaps, like my 202 caller, you only have one pesky nuisance. In that case, you can simply block that number (Whitepages can help with that too!). Now, if the spammers wise up and get a new number, rinse and repeat.
- Get a second set of digits. If you need to post your number to the public, it may be time to get a second phone number. It’s not our favorite choice, but if you’re in deep, this may be the only viable option left.
- Report that $!*#. Don’t suffer alone! AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and Bell subscribers can copy spam texts and forward it to 7726 (SPAM), free of charge. If you want to report a robocall, use the FTC’s Complaint Assistant.
- Register on the Do Not Call List. When in doubt, go back to the classics. You can register your landline or mobile number here. Don’t worry, if you registered your number in November 2004 and forgot all about it, they’ll let you know. While the DNC list will not prevent the illegal calls, it will put an end to any legitimate robocalls.
Today’s technologically-advanced world is filled with pros and cons when it comes to your mobile device. For every cat video at your fingertips, there’s someone looking to take advantage of your number. Fight the robocallers and free up more time for guilty pleasures. #Catvideosforall.