Financial Tips

Are Robocalls Driving You Crazy?

‘Do not hang up. I have important information.’

Are you sick of robocalls? Whether you have a landline or a mobile phone, it seems like telemarketers are trying to swamp you with unwanted telephone calls.

If you are looking for a way to stop these calls, you should register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You’ll find it on the web at donotcall.gov and then you’ll need to follow the instructions. The good news is that companies that follow the rules will stop bugging you. The bad news is that some won’t quit and others won’t have to.

People who can still call your number include political groups, charities and debt collectors. Other callers who don’t quit can face big fines but they usually don’t care and they can be hard to track down. They can even ‘spoof’ telephone numbers to make them look like they are from legitimate businesses or are coming from local phone numbers as a way to trick you into answering your phone.

You should ignore those calls or hang up as soon as you don’t recognize the caller. That’s because they might be trying to scam you by asking for personal information or by pretending to be a tech-support service, the IRS or even your bank or utility company telling your there is a big problem or demanding money.

Experts say it’s important to not say anything but ‘hello’ if you answer. That’s because even the word ‘yes’ can be recorded and used to pretend you are agreeing to something.

Don’t share personal information, account numbers, passwords, your Social Security number or anything else with unknown callers. If you think someone claiming to be from your financial institution, a utility company or a government agency might be legitimate, hang up and look up a real number by checking a statement or utility bill or finding it on the group’s actual web site. Tell them why you are calling and ask if there are any problems.

So if unwanted calls are driving you crazy, remember that you can register your telephone number at donotcall.gov or that you just shouldn’t answer any number you don’t recognize. While taking these steps might not end every call, you can at least reduce them and limit callers’ chances to trick you into doing something you shouldn’t.

Your motto should be ‘Don’t answer unknown calls.’