Are you inundated with unwanted calls to your cellphone from numbers you don’t recognize? You are not alone. That’s the biggest consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). You may have notice, some of these calls are made to look like they’re coming from a relative, with caller ID showing numbers that look similar to yours or someone you know.
“There’s harm in answering these calls,” said CSLEA Foundation Chair Kenny Ehrman. “By answering, you’ve let the scammers on the other end know they’ve reached a working number and they will sell it to others. Also, these people are in it for the money, so they will try to scam you out of yours. Don’t answer calls if you don’t recognize the number.”
That’s the number one tip from the FCC – Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, let them go to voicemail. Here are the rest:
- If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company or organization, hang up and call them back using a valid number found on their website or on your latest bill if you do business with them.
- If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say "yes" in response to a question, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your "yes" to apply unauthorized charges on your bill.
- Be Aware: Caller ID showing a "local" number no longer means it is necessarily a local caller.
- If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it's likely a scam. Legitimate organizations like law enforcement will not ask for payment with a gift card.
- If you receive a scam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center by selecting the "phone" option and selecting "unwanted calls." The data we collect helps us track trends and supports our enforcement investigations.
- If you have lost money because of a scam call, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
- Ask your phone company if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage them to offer one. You can also visit the FCC's website for more information about illegal robocalls and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.
- Consider registering your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry. Lawful telemarketers use this list to avoid calling consumers on the list.