UAW Local 1050 Consumer Affairs Committee
|Rick Peck firstname.lastname@example.org|
Consumer Affairs Committe Chair
Stop the Robocall Madness!
Have you ever gotten one of those annoying Robo phone calls at home, that automatically goes to a pre-recorded message? “Press “1” to speak to an agent…”, Just to get taken off the call list, but sometimes that only prompts more calls. The same goes calls or texts from unfamiliar numbers on your cell phone. In most cases, the worst you can do is to respond or reply, since it is more likely connected to some sort of scam.
There are FTC laws that are supposed to prevent a good number of those calls, but they still happen by way of hackers and false numbers. And then there are the texts that suggest if you click on their link “You have been complimented…, Someone has recognized you…”, that you will be sent a gift. The FBI has found that a few of these scams have been known to put a tracker on that phone, where the cell phone holder ends up being a victim of robbery or worse. The good news is there are a few ways to avoid or deter those calls.
1. If you do get a Robo Call, hang up immediately. The longer you stay online, the longer that source can collect information from that phone or location. Don’t press “1”, and don’t bother giving the call a piece of your mind. If you try to reverse call, the chances are it is to a number that has been hacked.
2. Contact the Do Not Call Registry. 1-888-382-1222. You can also go online to the website of http://www.consumer.ftc.gov or http://www.donotcall.gov/ (it’s the same place) where you can register your information. This website also has links where you can report the incident, or other things.
3. Contact your cell phone carrier to get an app that would alert you that an incoming call might be from a scammer or spammer. The catch for a call blocking app might be a $2 or $3 monthly fee added to your carrier bill, but a few carriers has this service for free. This also might block some people on your contact list if you don’t update your contact information with each person listed.
4. If you receive an anonymous call, let it go to voice mail. IF the call is important, and that caller wants to relay information to you, they will leave a message. Most Robocalls don’t leave messages.
If you do get a live caller (scammer) who tells you that the IRS is demanding an immediate payment in the next 8 hours, they might tell you to pay gift card, or else the sheriff will be at your door to arrest you. If you get this call, hang up immediately and contact TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) http://www.treasury.gov, which is a branch of the IRS, or http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-public-to-stay-alert-for-phone-calls. By the way, the IRS is a slow bureaucracy that rarely sends to people to jail for improper tax filings.
Rick Peck, Consumer Affairs