San Diegans Being Bombarded By Spam Calls, How To Stop Them

iPhone Settings

Your phone rings, its an unknown number and when you answer it's usually some pre-recorded message about how you've won something from a resort you were never at or it's a threatening message about how you're going to get arrested if you don't respond in 24-hours.

Robo calls can originate from anywhere around the world and are very hard to fight.  Apps have been created to help prevent them but even those you have to be careful with.  These robocallers are getgint smarter than ever and are even able to spam you from what appears to be your own area code so that you assume its from a legitimate business or someone you may know: A neighbor, a doctor or the drugstore, even.

Most scammers aren't even in this country and are usually trying to get your most private info such as social security number, bank account or even fast cash and are hoping they can create a clever enough scam to trick you into giving it away.

Here's what you do when you get a robocall:

If it's a number you don't recognize, even if it is from a local area code you should let it go to voicemail.  If it's important someone will leave a message for you.

If you do end up picking up the phone and realize that it is a pre-recorded message on the other end you should hang up immediately.  Do not press 1 to speak to the operator and if it prompts you to press anything to get off their calling list you don't want to do that either. Any type of interaction with these robo callers only confirms to these callers that you were a legitimate call and will most likely only lead to more robo calls.

How to avoid spam phone calls in the first place

- Your first line of defense would be to make sure that your phone numbers are registered on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry.  It is illegal for telemarketers to call you if you're on it, although the majority still do.

- Sign up for the FTC's Scam Alerts.  This will alert you to the most current robocall scams that have been reported to the FTC.

- There are also many reputable apps in your phone's app store that frequently update their lists of known robocall numbers and are automatically blocked from your phone.  

You can also download this anti-spam app for iPhone and Android:

Mr. Number Call Block & Lookup -iPhone

Mr. Number-Block calls & spam

with new robo callers popping up daily it is almost impossible to block each and every spammer no matter how many apps you download. You should also take a moment to familiarize yourself on how to block a phone number on your phone too.  

How to block a number on your cell phone

On Android:

  • Open the Phone app
  • Tap the number that just called you
  • Tap "Details"
  • Tap "Block number"

On iPhone:

  • Open the Phone app.
  • Tap the "i" icon next to the number that called you.
  • Scroll down and select "Block this caller."

If you follow these steps you should notice a drop in the amount of robocallers.  If you continue to get them, make sure you file complaint with the Federal Trade Commission so that they can keep the numbers on file and stop whoever is sending those calls in the first place.

*How to stop robocalls on a landline

Landlines are a little trickier, and the best way to eliminate robocalls on your home phone would be to screen your calls.

“If no one ever picked up the phone when it rang, robocalls would stop,” says Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail, a visual voicemail and robocall blocking service. “If I’m going to scam you to buy a fake cruise or install fake virus software, I need you to answer the phone so that I can pitch you.”

A good tip is to shut the ringer off altogether and allow the calls to go straight to an answering machine with caller ID.  if the caller doesn't leave a message then there is no need to worry.  If the do start to leave a message and you know who they are you can usually pick up the phone before they finish leaving a message.

Call blocking boxes

For about $30- $150 you can pick up a call blocking box that will block most robocalls but the downside of that is that they will also block legitimate robocalls such as a pharmacy prescription call or an informational call from your child's school.   Other concerns include difficulty setting up the blocking box and it is still easy for savvy scammers to work around.

The majority of these are not perfect even though they cost  money, but the can cut down on the amount of calls you are receiving.  The best way to stop them for good is to  implement the same practices as you would for a cell phone as well.  

The good news is that robocallers won't be around forever.  Phone carriers are just as serious about eliminating spam calls as you are.  They have been attacking the problem by creating inter-carrier partnerships, consumer education and even partnerships with the government.