Rid yourself of unwanted sales calls and aim to avoid becoming one of the many people who lose money to phone scams with these tips.
It happens all the time – the phone rings and you see a blocked, hidden, or local number you don’t recognize on your screen. Unexpected sales calls are a nuisance, but be careful, what you think is an annoying sales call could in fact be a scammer hoping to make you their next victim.
Either way, it’s a good idea to know the difference as well as how to deal with both.
How To Identify & What To Do
Is It A Scam?
There are a couple of things to look out for when receiving a sales call. If the caller offers something that seems ‘too good to be true’ and are more than a little pushy, odds are it’s a scam. Listen for phrases like “You’ve been selected for this offer” or “You’ve won one of ten valuable prizes”. In situations like these, it’s best to decline the offer and hang up. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Keep your guard up. The caller may try to legitimize themselves by providing a website link where you can find glowing customer reviews of their company or product. Don’t click the link – the website may be fake or it could be directing you to a malicious site to steal valuable personal information. Instead, start your own research independently.
Things To Consider & What Not To Say
Don’t answer the phone – sometimes the best course of action is to not engage at all. But if you do, ask yourself questions like “Who’s calling and why?” and “If it’s free, why do I need to pay for it?”. Additionally, keep in mind that the law says telemarketers have to disclose that it’s a sales call and can only call you from 8 am to 9 pm.
Whatever you do, don’t give away any personal information – like your address, family name, Social Security number, credit card info, or even something as innocent as your pet’s name. Also, avoid saying ‘yes’ at all cost, especially if they start asking things like “Can you hear me?”. This is a tactic to get you to respond so they can record it and use it later.
Again, don’t be afraid to hang up on suspicious phone calls. If it’s regarding a bill or something you owe, they can always contact you via mail. You can also look up the phone number of the place they’re claiming to be and call directly.
How Can I Protect Myself?
You have a few options when it comes to screening or preventing these types of unwanted calls.
- For your mobile phone:
- There are call blocking apps that can stop scam calls before they get to you, silence calls from unknown numbers, and even send suspicious calls straight to your voicemail. Search your online app store to find pricing – some are even free – and read reviews.
- Ask your carrier about call blocking services.
- Check your phone settings to find features like Do Not Disturb.
- For your landline:
- Ask your carrier if your home phone uses VoIP.
- If it does, you can subscribe to an online call blocking service.
- If instead it’s a traditional landline, you’ll need to buy and install a call blocking device – read reviews and get recommendations from your carrier.
Call blocking won’t catch every unwanted call so it’s important to:
Follow the tips above and you’ll be on your way to eliminating unwanted sales calls and protecting yourself from phone scams.