Automated, potentially fraudulent phone calls—robocalls—are surging. What should you do if you receive one?
Adam Nichol, Technical Analyst II and Information Security Officer at the HSHS Information Security Office, says robocalls are proliferating because they are relatively easy to commit and may net scammers significant amounts of money.
“Common robocalls are those that claim to be the IRS or FBI calling to get information about a recent audit,” Nichol says. “Another frequent robocall invites you to increase your credit limit on your credit card.”
Here’s how to recognize and handle robocalls:
- Let suspect calls go to voicemail. “If you don’t recognize a phone number and you’re not expecting a call, don’t answer,” Nichol says. “Often, phone numbers are spoofed to look like they’re from the recipient’s area code or to resemble his or her number. If the caller leaves you a voicemail, you can decide if the call is legitimate.”
- If you answer a call and it sounds suspicious, hang up. Don’t provide any information or respond to any questions.
- Get defensive. The Federal Communications Commission recommends using a robocall blocker from your phone company or an app that stops unwanted calls. You can report robocalls and add your phone to the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov.