Flim Flam Scams and Robocalls have caused us to stop answering our phones!

Robocalls and Scams increasing

Do you even bother answering your phone anymore? The most likely answer to that question is “no.” And why not? The most likely answer to that question is “it’s not safe.” The “why” isn’t too hard either: It’s most likely a robocall spammer or scammer.

The caller ID often reads that it’s the IRS or Social Security calling or shows just the name of a town or city and state, “private number,” or even what appears to be, most likely, a “spoofed” (fake) local phone number. If there is a name displayed, it is often the name of someone you do not know.

Most Common Scams

In general, the most common types of robocalls are those claiming to be with the Social Security Administration (39%), the IRS (38%), travel companies (36%) and debt collectors (33%), according to a recent survey. (Source: CNBC)

If you do answer a call and it’s someone demanding immediate payment for anything, it is probably NOT a legitimate phone call. Hang up immediately. The IRS, Social Security, utility companies, Microsoft, computer companies such as Dell or HP, your bank, or your credit card company, will never call you or threaten you or demand immediate payment over the phone.

How many calls are you getting daily saying that your vehicle’s original car warranty is expiring, the one you’ve never had or probably should have never bought in the first place? Or so says Consumer Reports. (Note: I just received my third car warranty call today while writing this article…all using a different phone number!). Then there’s the robocallers saying they can lower your credit card interest rate. The only thing that will be lowered is your bank balance and likely your credit score as well!

Pew Research and others have been reporting that three out of 4 Americans say they have been targeted by phone scammers over the last year. And most of those calls are from scammers seeking to swindle you out of money. The result is that many of us no longer answer our phones, especially when the caller is unknown.

On average, those who fall for scam calls lose $182, with some losing more than $500, according to the survey of more than 2,000 consumers and 300 business professionals conducted Dec. 23-29, 2020, by Hiya Research.

About 94% of those surveyed said they let unidentified incoming calls go unanswered, even though the number of consumer and business voice calls have nearly tripled during the coronavirus pandemic, as hackers and scammers attempt to exploit our need to feel connected and informed.

More than 4 billion robocalls targeted phones across the U.S. in January, averaging 129.5 million calls daily, or about 1,500 calls each second.

During the coronavirus pandemic, new types of phone scams have arisen including those promising tests and cures, expedited stimulus check payments and texts about COVID-19 support and pandemic tracing.

CNBC reported that among the most common robocalls related to the coronavirus are those claiming to provide treatment, financial relief and free Covid-19 testing, according to a survey of about 4,000 people. And that Americans already have lost north of $13.4 million to coronavirus-related scams so far this year. COVID-19 vaccine scams have more than doubled since September with scammers taking advantage of people’s interest in getting vaccinated.

Regulators, wireless providers and security companies have focused on blocking robocalls. Yet, they keep coming…and getting worse.

How to avoid robocalls: the best thing to do is hang up if you hear a recorded message, it’s highly likely a scammer. Rather than answer the call, let it go to voice mail.

AND use the call-blocking that comes with your phone and phone service.

If you are not sure how to use the call blocking features, look in your phone’s instruction manual or simply call your phone company and ask.

And, most importantly, educate yourself. Read up on robocalls. For more information about robocalls, scam calls and call blocking go to the FCC website and FTC website or visit the AARP Scams and Fraud website for information on the latest frauds and scams.

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9 Responses to Flim Flam Scams and Robocalls have caused us to stop answering our phones!

  1. Bob February 19, 2021 at 10:01 am #

    Leave me a message and I’ll call you back when I get around to it.

     
  2. Bill February 19, 2021 at 4:33 am #

    My message on my phone states that unless I recognize the number/name of the caller I won’t answer, if you need to contact me, leave a message and I will get back to you. Has made my life much easer, well at least when it comes to my phone anyway.

     
  3. Charles O. Jones February 18, 2021 at 12:33 pm #

    Don’t freely give out your number to every business, service, or online purchase just because they ask for it. In most cases there’s no reason they actually need your number. They may however sell your number to others who could use it to target you with robocalls or even scams.

     
  4. Neil Jessen February 18, 2021 at 10:34 am #

    There is a free service on the web called NOMOROBO. It is legit and all of my friends and family use it. You simply set up your landline (or cellphone with their app) and whenever a robot or automated phone calls you, it answers and hangs up on them. You will hear your phone ring one time and boom….they are gone. And just so you know, I do not work for these people and I am not making any money or anything from this post. Just wanted to pass along some helpful information to my eastern Sierra friends.

     
  5. M. Anderson February 17, 2021 at 4:07 pm #

    This cuts down a lot on how many robocalls I get, and the website explains how to report the calls that come anyway. https://www.donotcall.gov/report.html

     
  6. Frankly speaking, technology will steal us blind... February 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm #

    All of us are being pushed toward technology despite the “Big Brother” aspect of it, the only difference being that it’s Big Business/Big Corporatism that is following us wherever we go, all in the effort to “sell” us everything under the sun regardless of whether we need it or not.

    Privacy has become a joke. You might be able to control some of the information about yourself, but you have no control over what others are revealing about you, your whereabouts, or what you do or do not like, etc. In the end, it makes us easy targets for schemers and scammers who are taking advantage of the technology that we are all forced to use. And then, all your information is allowed to be stolen thanks to massive data breaches with millions of consumers personal and financial information. Even the government can’t keep its own secrets safe from hackers and cons.

    It’s sad. We pay for our phones and internet, and basically a bunch of crooks have taken away our ability to use them without fear of theft. Who needs to bother with robbing banks when you can easily steal anonymously over the Internet or telephone with little or no fear of being caught.

     
    • Neil Jessen February 18, 2021 at 10:40 am #

      Actually, California enacted some tough consumer protection laws about 4-5 years ago. It allows for California residents to “opt-out” of this type of scenario. California law REQUIRES companies to provide an opt-out of this type of data sharing. Conduct a Google search of yourself – Full name, address, phone number, etc. Find sites where your information exists and then follow any opt-out links. Most of these people try hard to hide this option. It will typically be listed in there Privacy Policy which is usually shown as a small link at the bottom of their web page. Your information is valuable, don’t let it be sold! Removing yourself from lists may be a lengthy process given the total number of data brokers; however, every removal will have a positive long term effect.

       
      • AK February 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm #

        You want me to enter my full name, address, phone number, etc.? This is what you don’t want to do. Talk about exposing yourself!

         

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