Spam callers are an annoyance and a possible threat to your identity safety. These callers try to trick you or frighten you into giving out your personal information, making your identity and personal accounts easier to hack. Learning some of the ways to identify these callers can help you when you discover unknown numbers appearing on your phone.
Download Apps to Identify and Block Spam Calls
Image via Flickr by Alexandra E Rust
You can use two main apps to identify possible spam calls: Hiya and Truecaller. Hiya has a database that tracks more than 400 million calls a month, which can allow you to detect the spam calls you might receive. The app compares a number calling your phone with its database, then lets you know if the number is a likely spam threat. You can then ignore the call and block the number.
Truecaller also has a large database of spam numbers, thanks to its 200 million users. While the app lets you block unwanted calls and numbers, you can also use the app to call people if you choose.
Add Your Phone Number to the Do Not Call Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry allows people to list their phone numbers in a directory so that telemarketers do not contact them. Once your number appears on the list for 31 days, you can report sales calls to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If your number is on the registry and you get unwanted sales calls, those calls might be spammers trying to collect personal information from you.
Check the Area Code
Spam calls sometimes come from 800, 866, and 888 numbers, which makes them easier to spot. Sometimes, hackers use real area codes to encourage people to answer their calls. If you don’t have a reason to receive a call from a distant area code, the call might be a spam call. Check the online Whitepages list of the most common spam area codes to see if any of the calls match up to the listed area codes.
Call Back From a Blocked Number
You might have wondered what is caller ID blocking and why you need to learn how to do it. If you want to call back an unknown number to find out if you received a spam or legitimate call, you don’t necessarily want your contact information displaying on the other person’s caller ID. Learn how to block your number with a few simple steps. You can dial *67; the person you call will not see your phone number on the caller ID display.
Remember that dialing *67 works only for the call you’re making, not as a permanent solution. To completely block your phone number and prevent anyone from seeing it, access your phone’s settings to find the blocked number feature.
Do A Reverse Number Lookup
When a number you don’t recognize appears on your phone, let the call go to voicemail. Then search for the number on the internet. Sometimes, you may need to use a website to do a reverse number lookup, since most spam numbers have already been reported. You can often find discussions about spam calls on spam phone number forums. Here, you can discover whether other people received contacts from a possible scammer before you bother listening to a voicemail or calling the number back.
Verify Companies That Spammers Claim to Represent
Sometimes, spammers might tell you that one of your personal accounts got hacked. They frighten you into giving them your personal information. In recent years, spammers pretending to represent the IRS have called people and threatened callers with arrests as a result of unpaid taxes.
If you’re not sure whether the organization calling you is legitimate, get contact information and hang up. Then contact the organizations that the spammers claim to represent by using contact information you get directly from the organizations’ websites. If the call turns out to be fake, you can report the fraudulent call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
As a general rule, don’t give out personal information over the phone, even if someone already has personal information about you. You can always verify organizational calls, do some internet searching to verify spam callers, or simply ignore the calls.