Guides & Tips

Expert Advice on Fighting Robocalls and Scam Calls

LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Tumblr

In today’s digital age, our reliance on telecommunication technology for personal and professional communications has never been greater. Unfortunately, with this convenience comes the increasing menace of unwanted and often fraudulent phone calls.  

In particular, the issue of robocalls and scam calls has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of reported unwanted calls has been increasing steadily, with billions of such calls being placed annually. The explosion in robocalls and scam calls can be attributed to various factors, including advancements in technology and the relative ease with which bad actors can perpetrate these schemes. These intrusive and often malicious calls can lead to financial loss, invasion of privacy, and identity theft, and have become a frustrating and sometimes threatening issue for individuals and organizations worldwide.

This article discusses the mechanisms and negative impact of robocalls and scam calls, and explores various methods for preventing these unwanted calls, emphasizing both individual and collective approaches to defense.

What are Robocalls and Scam Calls?

Robocalls – Robocalls are automated phone calls made by computerized systems, also referred to as “bots”, often using pre-recorded messages. These unwanted calls have become increasingly prevalent due to advancements in technology, which have made it easier for bad actors to place calls en masse.

Robocalls are not inherently malicious. They can also serve useful purposes, such as appointment reminders from healthcare providers, notifications from schools, and general informational announcements. However, the term “robocall” is most commonly associated with unwanted and potentially malicious automated calls, including attempts to sell products, promote services scams, phishing and spam.

Scam calls – Scam calls are fraudulent or deceptive calls with the intent of tricking the recipient into providing personal or financial information, or to carry out other fraudulent activities such as gaining access to personal electronic devices. Scammers often pose as legitimate entities, such as government agencies, financial institutions, technical support services, and lottery or charitable organizations. The primary objectives of scam calls are to steal money or obtain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, bank account information, or login credentials.

There are various types of scam calls, one of the most prevalent being phishing calls. In this case, scammers pose as recognizable entities to trick individuals into disclosing personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Other types of scam calls include tech support scams that seek access to a computer device or receive payment for fake services, and lottery scams, where callers claim the recipient has won a prize but must pay fees or taxes upfront to collect their winnings.

The Impact of Robocalls and Scam Calls

The impact of robocalls and scam is wide and varied, with the main repercussions being as follows:

Deceptive and fraudulent practices leading to financial loss

Individuals who succumb to robocalls and scam calls often suffer significant financial losses. Common scams include fraudulent tax collection calls, tech support scams, lottery scams, and advance-fee fraud. Scammers may trick victims into making payments and monetary transfers, purchasing fake products or services, or divulging sensitive financial information. 

Theft of personal and business information, and identity theft

Scammers may seek personal information, such as Social Security numbers, banking information or credit card details. This data can be used for identity theft, which can have severe consequences to a person’s financial and personal life. Phishing tactics may be used to trick individuals into providing login credentials, usernames or passwords. Once obtained, this information can be used to access email accounts, financial platforms, or social media profiles. 

Invasion of privacy, exposure to unwanted content, fear and anxiety

Robocalls and scam calls represent a substantial invasion of personal privacy. Some robocalls and scam calls are designed to deliver unwanted, inappropriate, or distressing content. In addition, receiving scam calls that claim to involve legal action or threats to personal security can induce fear and anxiety. 

Negative influence in the trust of communications

The suspicion caused by robocalls and scam calls has led to a decline in the effectiveness of telephone communications, as the prevalence of these types of calls has eroded trust in the legitimacy of phone calls. Individuals are increasingly skeptical of answering calls from unknown numbers, even when the communications may be legitimate. The result is that people may miss important calls, including those from medical professionals, government agencies, and their banks.

Dissemination of false Information

Some scam calls aim to spread false information, whether it’s misinformation about COVID-19, political issues, fraudulent investment opportunities, or fake government notifications. The spread of such misinformation can have real-world consequences and contribute to public confusion. The proliferation of false and deceptive information through scam calls can erode trust in information received via phone calls, leading to skepticism even when legitimate information is conveyed.

How to Fight Robocalls and Scam Calls

Robocalls and scam calls are a growing problem. In response, individuals, government agencies, and telecommunications companies have been working to combat these unwanted and harmful calls through a combination of technological solutions, legislation and public awareness campaigns. Some of these remedial strategies are as follows:

Be aware and be educated

The most important tools in combatting robocalls and scam calls are education and public awareness.As a basic safety tactic, all phone users should familiarize themselves with common scams and fraudulent schemes employed by scammers. Most importantly, users should not share sensitive personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from a trusted organization. It is also important to stay informed about the latest scams and common tactics used by fraudsters.

Businesses are also vulnerable to robocalls and scam calls. These fraudulent calls can harm a company’s operations and reputation, and can even lead to financial losses. Therefore, employees should be educated to be aware of these threats, specifically on how to recognize phishing calls and avoid falling victim to them.

Use caller ID and call blocking apps

Most modern phones and softphones include a caller ID feature that displays the incoming caller’s number and sometimes the caller’s name. This information allows users to avoid answering calls from unknown or blocked numbers.

In addition, a range of call blocking apps are available for smartphones. These apps rely on databases of known spam and scam numbers and are effective in filtering and blocking unwanted calls. Some popular options include Truecaller, Connect Blocker, Hiya and Nomorobo.

Register on a Do Not Call list

A Do Not Call list or registry is a valuable tool for individuals who want to reduce telemarketing calls and maintain their privacy. Such a registry consists of a list of personal phone numbers that are off-limitsto telemarketers. This type of initiative is implemented on a per-country basis, and national registries are available in a number of regions, including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom and France.

In the USA, the National Do Not Call Registry is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While the use of this list may not eliminate unwanted calls, it can significantly reduce their frequency. Users must enroll by adding their telephone number to this registry, and then telemarketers are legally prohibited from calling that number.

Verify the legitimacy of incoming calls

When receiving a call that seems suspicious or one claiming to be from a legitimate organization, individuals should ask for a callback number. Scammers often refuse to provide such a phone number, or offer unreliable contact information. Alternatively, call the official number listed on the organization’s website, documentation, or publicly available information to ensure that all conversations take place with a legitimate representative.

Take advantage of technological solutions

There are several technological frameworks used in the telecommunications industry to address the issue of fraudulent calls. For example, in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has encouraged the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN by carriers and service providers. STIR/SHAKEN helps combat caller ID spoofing and is designed to work across both traditional telephony systems and VoIP networks.

In addition to the above, some carriers and organizations are implementing Verified Caller programs that aim to differentiate between verified callers and potential scammers. Also, selected carriers offer call filtering services that automatically identify and block suspected spam or scam calls. 

Seek the protection of legislation and regulations

Telecommunication regulatory authorities are actively working to combat robocalls and scam calls, with the result that unsolicited calls may violate telemarketing and consumer protection laws. Authorities in several countries have taken measures to enforce regulations and impose penalties.

The United States has been at the forefront of regulatory actions. For instance, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts the use of automated dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages without the recipient’s consent. In Europe, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations must obtain explicit consent before making marketing calls or sending electronic communications, including emails and SMS messages. Due to the enforcement of these regulations, individuals who have been scammed by robocalls or scam calls may seek legal recourse.


Robocalls and scam calls have become a ubiquitous nuisance, representing a multifaceted threat to individuals’ privacy, personal information, financial security, and well-being. Moreover, scam calls can have psychological, emotional, and legal ramifications, while diminishing trust in communication channels.

To combat these unwanted calls, individuals can employ a range of prevention strategies, including using caller ID, call blocking apps, and registering on a Do Not Call list. Call authentication technology, legislative measures, and carrier-level solutions are also important components in the fight against unwanted calls. Public awareness and education are critical, and understanding risks is a crucial step toward safeguarding individualsfrom this menace.

Robocalls and scam calls are an unfortunate byproduct of modern telecommunications technology. By staying vigilant and taking appropriate precautions, we can collectively work to reduce the impact of these deceptive practices and safeguard our communication networks.

Write A Comment