Everyone hates robocalls. Whether you’re at work, trying to eat or just relaxing, any time you get a robocall is a bad time to get yelled at by a robot that’s trying to scam you. These calls are extremely annoying, for one thing, because they can come from seemingly any phone number.
What’s more, they don’t need to find your phone number off of a registry: they simply use automated tools to dial every possible number under an area code until they get a hit.
So, not only can you not predict what number the calls will come from, you also can’t keep them from acquiring your number to begin with. While it might be tempting to avoid robocalls by just not having a cellphone, this is an unrealistic solution for most people. If you’re looking to sidestep robocalls altogether, you might feel like you have no options. However, there are a few things you can do to help screen them.
The classic way to avoid robocalls is simple: never answer a phone call from a number you don’t know or can’t see. The number of times a random number is something important is probably vanishingly small, and if it is important the caller can leave a voicemail. Then, you can call them back after establishing who they are.
This may sound simple, but it’s a surprisingly effective way to have your number appear “dead” for scammers operating robocall programs. If you never pick up the phone for unsolicited calls, then you’re not exactly a good mark. This could result in your number being purged from the active rolls that robocallers use to troll for marks, at least for a time.
Some phone service providers provide technology that screens calls that come from “suspicious” callers. Through a number of factors, these software solutions can identify which callers appear to be fraudulent.
Things like the volume of calls they send, how long their average phone call lasts, and how many users block that number can indicate a fraudulent caller.
There are also third-party applications that can be used to screen out such fraudulent calls. However, these screening services can occasionally block calls from legitimate callers who are simply not listed in your contacts list, so use these at your own discretion.
Of course, the simplest way to avoid robocalls is to simply block any numbers that belong to a scammer after you answer the phone. It’s low-tech and simple, but hey, it’s better than nothing!