The New Generation of Phone Scams

March 12, 2019

In February, the Federal Communications Commission issued an eye opening report on illegal robocalls. It was reported that 44.6% of all calls to mobile phones would be scam calls in 2019. Unfortunately, these calls are hard to stop. Caller ID spoofing hides the caller’s true identity making them hard to track. The FCC has made it a top consumer protection priority to combat this problem. While the FCC works toward a solution, let’s look at what you can do now.

Neighborhood Spoofing

The biggest growing trend is to simply fool you by way of familiarity. Neighborhood Spoofing involves spoofing caller ID to match the first six digits of your phone number – your area code and your local exchange – to make the call look like it is coming from a local business or even a friend or neighbor.

How Can I Stop It?

Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to completely stop these types of robocalls. You can however, stop being a victim. Here are four tips to help you identify and deal with the nuisance.

1. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry

The Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry is a great place to start. You can register landline, mobile numbers and also report unwanted calls. This will not guarantee to stop the calls, but it will let you know the calls you receive after registering are unlawful.

2. Install a call blocking app

While many mobile phones have built-in call-blocking features, they generally only block single numbers. Since scammers spoof and rotate numbers, you’re unlikely to do much but frustrate yourself. Third-party apps are available for both Android and iOS that check databases of known spam numbers. The FCC also has some additional resources that go beyond basic features.

3. Report Spam Callers

It may feel like you’re wasting your time, but the more reports seen by government agencies the more likely some action will be taken. The FCCFTC and Better Business Bureau all have complaint resources. While you don’t need to play the part of world police, reporting calls is one of the most direct ways you can take action.

4. Hang up or send to voicemail

Sometimes the simplest thing to do is the most obvious. If the number isn’t already saved in your phone as a contact just let it got to voicemail. If someone is truly trying to get in contact with you they will leave a voicemail. Answering the call only lets the scammer know the line is active and to try again. If you do answer the phone, don’t be afraid to just hang up. You can always call the listed phone number later if you’re still unsure.

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