June 5, 2023 | Asset Preservation Planning
Don’t Fall for the Robocall
If you’re starting to feel like you get a disproportionate share of illegal robocalls, you might be right. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Ohio ranks second in the nation for Do Not Call Registry complaints per capita. As scams continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to know how to protect yourself.
In 2020, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost created the state’s Robocall Enforcement Unit, a team of attorneys and investigators dedicated to holding accountable the companies involved in the illegal calls. Most recently, Yost and seven other attorney generals achieved a court judgement that shut down a robocall operation responsible for more than 69 million robocalls to Ohioans alone; nearly half of which were registered to the Do Not Call list.
Despite the scope of this win, it’s still only a small dent in a larger problem. Savvy illegal robocall operators continue to find new ways to trick their victims. One such tactic is spoofing. Scammers falsify the information displayed on your caller ID to convince you to pick up the phone. They may disguise their identity by displaying a number with your local area code, or even the number of a legitimate company or government agency.
What to Do if You Receive a Robocall?
Your best defense is to not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. If it seems like the caller might be legitimate but you can’t be sure, check the consumer complaint database to see if the business has previously been reported.
If you realize you’ve unwittingly answered a robocall, hang up immediately. Do not answer any questions, not even those that seem innocuous, or only require a yes or no. Be particularly wary of aggressive sales tactics or callers asking you to confirm your social security number, bank information, or passwords. And certainly, don’t follow any prompts, such as those instructing you to “press 1” to be removed from the caller’s list. These can be a mechanism for identifying potential victims.
How Should You Report a Robocall?
You can report robocalls to Ohio’s Robocall Enforcement Unit through one of the following methods:
– Text “ROBO to 888111
– Visit OhioProtects.org
– Or Call 1.800.282.0515
You can also report unwanted calls to the FTC. If you did not lose any money as a result of the scam call, you can report it via DoNotCall.gov; but if it caused a financial loss, use the form found at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
What Else Can You Do?
Be sure to add all your phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register or verify an existing registration at DoNotCall.gov. PCMag also offers some tips on how to block unwanted calls on your cell phone, plus a round-up of resources provided by cellular carriers and a list of reputable call screening apps to consider.
While robocalls remain a burgeoning problem, Ohio’s Robocall Enforcement Unit continues to go after bad actors at every level––from the carriers who facilitate the behavior to the individuals who make the calls. Their multipronged approach provides hope that some relief is possible. In the meantime, hang in there, and most importantly, hang up.