How you can finally stop annoying spam calls

Darvin Nelson, General Assignment Reporter

Does “we’ve been trying to contact you regarding your car’s extended warranty” sound familiar to you? Spam calls have been a nuisance to people for a long time, begging the question: How do they get your number in the first place, and how can I get them to stop calling it? 

One way to try to stop getting unwanted calls is to register your number in the National Do Not Call Registry for free here. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the registry, which never expires, as a do-not-call list for telemarketers. But the FTC doesn’t block calls and can’t stop spam callers that just dismiss the registry.

Many mobile phones have call-blocking features, allowing people to stop unwanted calls. For instance, on iPhones, in the phone settings, you can choose to silence unknown callers. Some carriers even have a “Silence Junk Callers” feature that silences calls that your carrier sees as potential spam or fraud. Keep in mind that some of these features can block legitimate calls too. 

A common thing people do on mobile phones is labeling a spam call as “spam likely” so that the next time the number calls, they can choose not to answer the phone.

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash.

Home phones and landlines used to be the only victims of scam, robot and telemarketing calls, according to the Daily Advertiser. They also reported that the most common way for telemarketers to get your information is to purchase it from one of the hundreds of third-party data providers.

Organizations get our data from things like online purchases, pizza orders, and other places where contact information is exchanged. It can be scary to think about how much information companies may have about us, and we could be completely oblivious to it.

Phone numbers that begin with “800,” “888,” and “900” are a big way telemarketers obtain your phone number because those numbers may put your number in a system called ‘Automatic Number Identification’ or ANI, according to the Daily Advertiser.

“ANI uses equipment that automatically identifies and stores the number from which you are dialing,” the Daily Advertiser reported. “By matching your phone number with other computerized lists and street address directories, your name and address can often be discovered and added to marketers’ databases then possibly to other marketers.”

Photo by Alex Green via Pexels.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated online that they are doing what they can and “cracking down” on these illegal calls. Issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in actions against illegal robocallers, getting phone companies to block illegal or unwanted calls by default and making phone companies implement caller ID authentication to reduce spoofing (when a caller disguises their caller ID) are some of the FCC’s initiatives.

Here are some other tips on how to prevent more spam calls:

  • Avoid listing your phone number online.
  • Let unknown numbers go to voicemail unless you’re expecting an important call from an unsaved number.
  • Explore apps that can screen and block spam calls for you.
  • Ask your phone company about any call-blocking information or aid.
  • If you do answer an unknown caller, do not give any personal information, especially your social security number, bank account information, passwords, etc.

Whenever you get a spam call, you can also report it to the FTC here, where they will ask you for details about the call.

This issue sheds light on the larger matter of the consumer-advertiser dynamic because the problem isn’t just spam calls. Spam emails and junk mail are also examples of what some would say unwanted marketing. 

It seems that as the world progresses digitally, people may become more vulnerable to unwanted marketing tactics as well as scamming efforts that wish to exploit their personal information. 

Hopefully, by raising awareness and spreading information, people can help prevent these inconveniences.


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