Very few things bother me as much as unsolicited calls also known as robo calls. Apparently, I’m not alone because the Federal Communications Commission reports robo and scam calls topping the list of consumer complaints.
As a lawyer, I’m here to tell you that most unsolicited robo calls to your smartphone are illegal and most to your home phone are illegal too. Robo calls like appointment reminders from your doctor’s office are usually legal and as such, not referenced in this post.
While you may have certain civil and criminal rights against robo callers, prosecuting those rights is expensive, timely and difficult. Detecting and blocking robo calls is an easier path to take and here are some of my favorite tools I share with clients to help them do just that.
Spoofing caller ID helps robo callers trick you into thinking long distance or foreign calls are local. As such, it’s best not to answer an incoming from an unknown number. Let it go to voice mail and check later. If you can, set up voice-mail transcription to save time.
Do Not Call Registry
You can avoid receiving legitimate telemarketers by including your number in the directory at DoNotCall.gov but note this will not stop scammers. We did this a few years ago, and the telemarketing calls to our home and office significantly decreased.
Traditional Land Based Home-Phone Providers
Your provider usually has tools to help you block individual numbers. Others allow you to activate a service called “Anonymous Call Rejection.” Check with your provider to see what options are available.
Internet Home-Phone Providers
The service Nomorobo.com allows people using Comcast, Verizon Fios, and Xfinity to block incoming telemarketers and robo calls. Other options can be found at USTelecom.org/issues/robocalls and select “sampling of tools.”
You can block individuals by following the instructions at ctia.org/consumer-tips/robocalls. Incoming calls blocking apps also work.
Most consumers are not aware that Carriers like Verizon (Caller Name), AT&T (free Call Protect), and T-Mobile (free Scam ID and Scam Block) all provide protection. Your service provider is an excellent place to start so check with your provider first.
Third Pary Apps
There are several useful third-party apps that allow you to see who’s calling. They will also help you block known scammers automatically. Similarly, you can also get protection for unsolicited text messages, something that really gets under my skin.
If you are harmed or lose money because of an unsolicited robo call scam, contact your local police department and file a formal police report. Most criminal investigations and prosecutions require this first step to take place so do it immediately. A police report and investigation results will also help lawyers like me help you in civil case.
I hope the information in this post helps you avoid unsolicited robo calls in 2018. Reach out if you have any comments, additional solutions, or questions.