5 Ways to Avoid Troublesome Robot Calls
Picture the scene: you’re in the office waiting for an important business call. It could be a new client that you’re looking forward to meeting. Or maybe it’s an exciting new supplier that you’re eager to start working with.
The phone rings, and you pick up with bated breath—but on the other end of the speaker isn’t who you expected at all. Instead, a dull, monotone voice is telling you that your insurance is out of date or that you need to make a bank transfer for some unspecified reason.
It’s just another robocall: spam phone calls that use an automated dialing system to either play you a recorded message or connect you with a salesperson. Robocalls are certainly annoying—however, they’re also increasingly dangerous.
With the ability to send out calls to millions of phones, robot calls are the weapon of choice for scammers looking to get money out of vulnerable people or uncertain business owners. So how can you avoid robocalls and make sure that you only receive phone calls that matter? Read on to find out.
How Do Robot Calls Work?
When you use a phone, you usually manually enter a number to make a call. Robocalls use software to dial numbers automatically, often from a huge list of numbers collected from various sources.
Of course, this can often be a useful tool—and receiving a robocall shouldn’t mean that you have to go running to a law firm website! Indeed, many reputable organizations, such as healthcare providers, use robot calls to remind customers of appointments without having to waste employees’ time.
However, scam robot calls are a different matter. They often dial thousands of numbers at the same time, with those who answer moved to a different level of an automated phone tree. They are then rerouted to a salesperson or simply played another automated message.
At this point, robot calls move from annoying to dangerous. If you continue to be on the phone here, your number will likely be recorded as a successful lead—or an easy target. Your phone will then receive a barrage of new robocalls in the future.
Obviously, this increase in robot calls is not what you or your business want. Whether you’re constantly having to leave the shop floor to answer spam calls or you’re unable to go through a real phone conversation without being alerted to another incoming robocall, falling into the trap of robot calls can make your life a misery.
Robocalls use techniques like number spoofing—a fake ID and number that will display on your phone—or unauthorized call forwarding. The organizations that use them illegitimately are constantly trying to come up with new ways to trick people.
Just as services like OnlyDomains play a vital role online by offering secure and reliable domain registration services that help prevent the creation of deceptive websites, telecommunications companies are constantly trying to adapt to new robot call technology and protect their customers.
How to Avoid Robot Calls
Unfortunately, robocalls are a fact of life. While some forms of spam phone calls are illegal, robot calls themselves aren’t illegal, so it’s up to you to find a way to avoid these troublesome calls. Here are some of the best tips for dealing with robocalls:
- Don’t answer unknown numbers
You probably already use a form of call tracking on your personal phone without realizing it. This is what allows you to see that an incoming call on your iPhone is from your mother, for instance, before you pick up.
While it’s not quite the same, similar technology can deal with phone numbers that aren’t in your contacts. Your business phone system should be able to provide information on the geographical source of incoming calls as well as whether they’ve called you before.
If you don’t have access to this information, it’s usually safer not to answer unknown numbers. If an incoming caller is real, they’ll surely call you back.
- Hang up quickly
Of course, it’s not always possible for businesses to simply avoid unknown calls. If you do pick up, try to be aware of the signs of a robocall and hang up quickly if you suspect anything.
As many automated robocall systems respond to terms such as “yes” to send you further down the spam robot call tree, you should avoid saying anything unless you’re sure that you’re speaking to a real caller.
- Check for details
If you’re ever unsure about whether a caller is looking to scam you or not, try to ask for details.
A real representative of your healthcare provider, for instance, would know your full name, while your bank will be able to provide you with your account number and other details. These linked accounts should be protected with a zero-trust security model, so you can be confident that they’re secure.
- Report spam calls
If you do get an unwelcome robocall, you can report that number to the authorities. While this will differ depending on your location, in the US, you can contact the FTC to report a spam caller.
As many spam calls come from one hosted phone service, reporting a number can help to stop people from being scammed in the future.
- Block robocalls
Once you’ve picked up a phone call, only to find that it’s a robocall, it makes sense to spend time blocking the number so that you won’t have to deal with that specific robot call again.
Exactly how you do this will depend on the type of phone that you use. With iPhones, for instance, you can go to “recent calls” and find the “Block this caller” option when you click next to the number.
It’s also possible to block all unknown callers on iPhone and Android devices, as well as many business phone services, but this will mean that you’ll also block many genuine numbers.
Instead, you’ll be better off just being cautious with unknown numbers while using measures such as an address verification system to protect yourself from fraud.
Avoiding Robot Calls: A Time for Caution
Robot calls are not just troublesome and irritating—they also present a very real risk to your business. Fraudsters are starting to use robocalls more often—so we should all be careful when we receive a call from an unknown number.
By following some of our advice, however, you can approach unknown callers with more confidence. Staying vigilant will allow you to balance the needs of your business with the desire to avoid robot call fraud.