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