How to Stop or Block Unwanted Robocalls

By
Real Estate Agent with Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth

Robocalls, or unwanted phone calls, are not only a nuisance and distraction, but they're also aggravating. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) says that spoof calls and robocalls are one of a phone users' biggest complaints.


What are the rules for robocalls?
FCC rules require a caller to obtain your written consent – on paper or through electronic means, including website forms, a telephone keypress – before it may make a prerecorded telemarketing call to your home or wireless phone number. FCC rules also require a caller to obtain your consent, oral or written, before it may make an autodialed or prerecorded call or text to your wireless number. There are exceptions to these rules, such as for emergencies involving danger to life or safety.

 

We all know that most telemarketers do not even follow the rules. So let's look at a few ways we can prevent, or at least reduce those unwanted calls that disrupt our lives.

• Don't answer phone calls from an unknown number. Put your important contacts on your phone with a name so you can decide if you want to answer the call or not. If the unknown caller has an important message, they can leave a voicemail.

• Don't give out important personal information. If you do answer a call and the person is reportedly from the IRS, Social Security office, or a financial institution asking for social security numbers or banking information, never give this information out.

• Call the number back. If the person claims they work for a company, hang up the phone and call the number back to see if it's a legitimate number and business.

• Download robocall blocking apps. Most cell phone carriers have an app that you can download that either blocks spam calls or labels them suspicious.

• Sign up for the Do Not Call list. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a process where you can sign up to stop receiving unwanted telemarketing calls. While these don't stop robocalls, at least you won't get telemarketers calling you as soon as you sit down to dinner.

 

Consumers with complaints go to: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints

 

 

Comments (19)

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Susie, my big issue is the robocallers are now buying up local numbers and using them for calls. I do not want to block them because the phone numbers may eventually become local buyers.

Feb 11, 2020 10:25 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I wish I could ignore those "Unknown callers" but as you know they could be potential leads that might get missed if we don't answer. It's a conundrum.

Feb 11, 2020 12:36 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Susie - I admit I don't feel obligated/inclined to answer each phone call.  If a caller -dislikes voicemail or has a "test" to see who answers their phone quickly - it sounds as if that caller and I would not likely be a match.  Oh, well.  Next....

Feb 12, 2020 04:54 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I answer fewer calls today than I did in past years and I am thankful that my phone tells me when it is potential spam, haha.

Feb 12, 2020 05:26 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Robocalls are one of my top pet peeves.  My home phone is on the Do Not Call list, but I still log about a half dozen each day.  I think telecom companies could do more to curtail them, but they don't seem to have the will to do so!  For real estate professionals, who like to actually pick up the phone because it may be a potential client, it can be difficult to ignore unknown numbers when they dial in.

Feb 12, 2020 05:37 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Susie, I agree with Jeff, many of the calls I get (but don't answer) are from a prefix from my local area.   Always junk, so far.

Feb 12, 2020 07:00 AM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat !  I'm also on do not call but still receive tons of robocalls or sales calls each day.  Yes, it's hard sometimes to just ignore.  I think that's what partially makes us easy target for robocalls or even any sales calls.  Thank you for dropping by!

Feb 12, 2020 02:49 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Joan Cox !  Yes, I agree.  They are getting smarter and we are easy target.  Oh well, thanks for dropping by.

Feb 12, 2020 02:52 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Brian England . Thank you for your comment and for dropping by.  It's good to have a smart phone isn't it? 

Feb 12, 2020 02:53 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Michael Jacobs .  Thanks for your comment and for dropping by.  I found that most leads actually left me a voicemail message and those calls that I picked up are almost always robocalls or sales calls.

Feb 12, 2020 02:55 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty .  I agree they are getting smarter.  Thank you for your comment and for dropping by.

Feb 12, 2020 02:57 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS .  I agree. Thank you for your comment and for dropping by!

Feb 12, 2020 02:59 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Susie,
I am thankful to be retired and don't feel obligated to answer calls from "unknown" numbers anymore.  As you know, it is risky as a real estate agent to ignore all unknown calls.  I guess it's the price to pay for potential leads... even though most of those calls are junk.

Feb 13, 2020 06:28 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

My Motorolla has an awesome feature allowing me to screen all calls. Caller is asked to identify themselves. They almost always hang up. If they do identify themself I see it in text form and can choose to answer or disconnect call.

Feb 13, 2020 07:20 AM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Hi Carol Williams thank you for your comment and for dropping by.  It's nice to see that someone has retired but still active in the rain.

Feb 15, 2020 12:02 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

That's awesome Sharon Tara . Thanks for sharing the info with us and thanks for dropping by.

Feb 15, 2020 12:03 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I answer every call like Debe Maxwell, CRS  the only ones I do not answer if it is ablocked call nunber if they are serious they will leave their number to call back... what I have done is reached out to Verizon and they block spam callers no charge...Endre

Jul 10, 2020 10:18 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Thank you Endre Barath, Jr. for your comment.  That's a really good idea to reach out to your phone company to block those callers.

Jul 28, 2020 02:32 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great info. I just keep blocking numbers on my cell phone. Eventually I'll have more blocked #'s than saved LOL.

Aug 21, 2020 07:59 PM