Why Do I Get So Many Spam Calls?

Suspected spam caller on caller ID

Almost anybody who has a phone number will get a spam call at some point. But, if your phone is constantly ringing from unwanted calls, you may wonder why telemarketers keep targeting you – and, more importantly, what you can do to stop them. While there isn’t a quick and simple answer to both of those questions, there are a few ways you can reduce your chances of getting spammed. The first step is understanding why these calls are happening in the first place. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about spammers and provide tips on how to stop them from calling you. 

Understanding Spam Calls

Most people are familiar with spam calls. But, who is actually making these calls, and what is their goal? As a general definition, spam calls are unsolicited calls made by businesses or individuals with the purpose of making a sale. The most common types of spam calls include:

 

  • Telemarketing: When businesses attempt to reach new customers to sell products or services. Most are conducted by real people who have a script and daily sales goal.
  • Robocalling: When a business uses automation to remind existing customers about things like upcoming appointments. If unsolicited, these calls are illegal. 
  • Scamming: When a caller attempts to obtain the receiver’s private information using dishonest or fraudulent methods. According to a report by Truecaller, Americans lost roughly $39 billion dollars to phone scams in 2022 alone.

How Do Spam Callers Get My Number?

Most spam callers purchase phone numbers from third-party data providers, which gather numbers from a variety of sources such as social media platforms, website accounts, and online directories. Even if you are cautious about where you provide your information, data providers can still access your number through things like voter registration, charities, and previous phone calls that you’ve made to businesses with caller ID. Some spammers may even use random generators to access unlisted numbers. 

Are Spam Calls Illegal?

Though spam calls are not inherently illegal, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to put strict guidelines on what is permissible. The main point of this act is to reduce the number of nuisance calls and prevent problems such as scams or fraud. Here are a few of the rules outlined in the TCPA:

  • Service providers can offer robocall blocking to consumers
  • Telemarketers may not use automated dialing without consumer consent
  • Consumers may withdraw consent to receive calls at any time
  • Telemarketing calls are prohibited outside of the hours of 8AM to 9PM
  • Telemarketers are prohibited from calling anyone on the Do Not Call registry

How to Stop Spam Calls

Spam calls can be annoying and, in some cases, dangerous. Though the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) is doing their best to stop these unwanted calls using technologies such as STIR/SHAKEN, it seems that spammers are always one step ahead. Since unsolicited calls are only on the rise, it’s wise to follow these steps to prevent spammers from reaching your phone:

Add Your Number to the Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call registry is a free and easy way to reduce your odds of receiving unsolicited phone calls. Though you should receive fewer spam calls within just a month of adding your number, this tactic does not protect you against spammers who unlawfully ignore the registry. 

Ask Your Carrier About a Call Filter

Some service providers offer free or low-cost call filters to block out unwanted calls. Though the basic feature is designed to filter out unknown numbers that are likely spammers, some also come with additional features such as nuisance warnings, reverse number lookups, and call filter screens. 

Install a Call-Blocking App

Similar to a call filter from your carrier, call-blocking apps are designed to protect you from unfamiliar numbers. Each has its own set of unique features ranging from answer bots to auto call blocking. Some also require a small subscription fee, so it’s best to conduct research before deciding on an app for your phone. Some of the most popular call-blocking applications include:

Configure Your Phone’s Settings

Depending on your phone model, you may be able to update the settings to block or silence unknown callers. You can also block individual numbers after receiving a spam call. Doing so will not only prevent you from being contacted by them in the future, but it will also signal to your provider that the caller is spam. 

Avoid Picking Up Spam Calls

Telemarketers and robocalls are more likely to try contacting you again if they know you will pick up. Unless you are expecting a call from a new number, try to avoid picking up phone calls from unknown numbers. 

Report Spam Calls to the FTC

Even after following all of these steps, you may still experience a spam call every now and then. Reporting the number will reduce the credibility of the caller, which can prevent them from contacting you or other consumers in the future.

Program Your Business Phones to Eliminate Robocalls

Your business telephone system installer can program your phones with an up-front auto-attendant that filters out most, if not all, robocallers. They can program a simple message such as, “Press 5 if you are a live person”. Note that lots of robocallers are able to generate a tone like that of  pressing 1 to bypass this, so by using another number your system can outsmart them. Once the programmed digit is pressed the call can then go through to your office. If the programmed digit isn’t pressed, the call will be disconnected.

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