Robocalls, which are automated landline or cell phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages, are hitting record highs in 2018. In fact, Youmail reports that there were about 3.4 billion in April 2018, which is an increase of about 40% from April 2017. Sadly, a large percentage, or most of, the automated phone calls are scams or fraudulent.
While families of all incomes are targeted by these phone calls, the risk is Robocalls that are associated with scams that go to lower income families that may lack the resources, education, knowledge, or even have language barriers. They are more likely to fall for a scam or fraudulent call, but it can really happen to anyone.
The most common scams in April 2018, as reported by Youmail as well as FBI, include the following. But note the list keeps changing, as the fraudsters always come up with new ideas. Also note scams may not only come from the 3.4 billion robocalls but also many other sources; the mail, internet, email, and much more.
- IRS – letters demand payment for taxes that are not do
- Identify theft scams – There are countless ones out there, from websites, hacks of stores credit card systems.
- Malware scams – As you can see, technology is playing a part in many scams…both computers as well as robocalls. There can be malware or viruses placed on a computer.
- Robo collector calls – They can do with utility bills or debt collectors. They may say you owe money on bills, try to pressure you, and collect money.
- Credit card offers – Some callers will offer 0% rates, and try to get your social security number, income, address, and other confidential info.
- Money making scams – These are always big, both via robocalls as well as mail, online, and more. They guarantee some type of deal to make money…and guarantees to make money are never possible. Find other work from home scams.
But scams can come in any form. Those are just a few examples. With 3.4 billion Robocalls occurring in April, there are bound to be hundreds if not thousands of versions of scams.
What can consumers do?
The first thing to do is hang-up! If you think the deal being offered or issue you are faced with is real, you can call that company or vendor directly. For example, the IRS will never call to demand money. A legit lender, such as credit card company, instead of listening to the Robocall, just dial them directly to see if they have the deal; do not engage with the caller. If someone demands utility money, then call the utility company to see if there is a balance on the account. The point being you have no idea who may be calling you, but if you take the initiative and call the company yourself you now you are speaking to a valid person and number.
Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. But the sad part is many companies that are involved in Robocalls do not adhere to it. While you can report those calls, the registry is obviously not that effect as shown by the 40% increase in volume and total of 3.4 billion robocalls in April.
Use apps that may block calls, but those are only available on cell phones and are not 100% effective. They may cut down on some calls, but not all. But we guess even one less automated call is better than nothing.
Be cautious. Do not engage. Do not share confidential information. Do research, and be aware of robocall scams. As they can do damage. Anyone impacted by scams? Take our survey here. http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/helpwithbills/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6897