By Fern E. Gillespie
Whether it’s a landline or cell phone, annoying calls from spammers, scammers, telemarketers and bots appear on phones by voice or text. According to YouMail, a company specializing in robocall blocking, Americans are expected to receive more than 52 billion robocalls this year.
Last year, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a set of laws that will build on federal action to combat robocalls. “New Yorkers are tired of annoying and predatory robocalls, and we’re taking action to stop them,” Gov. Hochul said. “This legislation will allow telecommunications companies to prevent these calls from coming in in the first place, as well as empower our state government to ensure that voice service providers validate who is making these calls so that action can be taken. enforcement can be taken against bad actors.”
The New York Attorney General’s Office has issued recommendations for New York consumers frustrated by telemarketers, who are limited to calling potential customers between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. When you receive an unwanted telemarketing call, ask for the name of the company and the caller. Record call information, time and date. Tell any unwanted telemarketer to put you on their “Do Not Call” list, which prohibits calls for 10 years. Call (888) 5OPT-OUT to have your name removed from consumer credit lists provided to telemarketers by credit reporting agencies. To report a complaint, contact the New York Attorney General’s Office Consumer Helpline at (800) 771-7755 or visit the website at ag.ny.gov
There are several free and paid apps to help stop robocalls, telemarketing, and phishing. Some of the best recommended spam call blockers for Android and iPhone are YouMail, UnknownPhone. Hi. Truecaller. Nomorobo and RoboKiller.
The FCC has established tips for consumers to stop unwanted robocalls and tips for avoiding phone scams:
Do not answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
You may not be able to tell immediately if an incoming call is being spoofed. Please note: Caller ID indicating a “local” number does not necessarily mean that it is a local caller.
If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, you should simply hang up. Crooks often use this trick to identify potential targets.
Do not answer any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes”.
Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or of suspicion.
If you receive a request from someone claiming to represent a business or government agency, hang up and call the phone number listed on your account statement or on the business or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually receive a written statement in the mail before you receive a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is requesting payment.
Be careful if you are pressured for information immediately.
If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call from your own phone number. A hacker could steal your personal phone number and access your voicemail if you don’t set a password.
Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have, and check out apps you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
If you already use robocall blocking technology, it’s often helpful to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the do not call list on donotcall.gov.