A tremendous amount of incoming calls is only part of the business when you run a busy practice. Customer and prospect calls can be time consuming, but they are productive and an important part of doing business.
Robocalls, on the other hand, are wasting your time and may even put you at risk. After all, many are fraudulent and fraudulent, trying to collect credit card or personal information that they can then use or sell to the highest bidder.
Tired of Robocalls Tackling Your Day? Here’s what you can do to protect your time and confidential information today.
1. Know what they look like
More companies than ever before are using automated calling services to reach customers. For example, Discover used an automated system to ask cardholders about flagged transactions. This can make identifying legitimate robocalls a little harder as the good guys also use recorded messages.
Fortunately, there are two great ways you can spot a potentially fraudulent robocaller:
- You don’t identify yourself right away. Most reputable companies start automated and non-automated calls by saying who they are with and what they want. If a call doesn’t, chances are it’s fraudulent.
- They ask for identifying information. They ask for your credit card number or personal address or social security number. Some pretend to be organizations like banks or the IRS to scare people, but none of these organizations ever call for safe information. Never provide it unless you’ve called them on a secure and verified line.
Most robocalls attempt to engage in phishing and pretend to be calling as part of a legitimate company or organization in order to trick the person into disclosing confidential or identifying information. This can be used to identify fraud or to try to steal bank, credit card, or other sensitive information. Note that not all reputable organizations will request your social security number, credit card number, or other sensitive information over the phone, especially if they have called you.
Even if the phone number looks like it is okay, don’t trust it alone. Many robocallers use a scam called “spoofing” to try to impersonate the numbers organizations are calling from in order to trick the person on the other end of the line. For example, it’s common for scammers to do so with 202 area codes when posing as the IRS.
2. Sign in to the Do Not Call list
Ultimately, most robocallers don’t strictly follow the rules, especially when they’re doing nothing good. That being said, you can reduce some calls by subscribing to the FTC Do Not Call list. It prohibits telemarketers from calling your company. So add all of your business areas to the list to cover your base. It won’t eliminate all calls, but it will help reduce some of them.
Registration for the “Do not call” list is free and can be done here at any time.
3. Never interact with a robocall except to hang up
Sometimes Robocallers will call you and ask you to say your name, choose from an automated message, or call you back so they can take a next step. It doesn’t matter whether it gives you a supposed free loan or gives you more information about an overdue account. Never interact with the calls and never call the numbers back. If you do this, more people will call you.
The only interaction you should ever have with a Robocall is to hang up. Ideally, the earlier, the better.
4. Consider using call barring services and apps
Robocallers are nothing new, and just like there are tools to block ads and popups online, there are now services that can prevent some of the robocallers from getting through and your phone from ringing.
Some cellular operators offer call blocking services from suspicious telemarketers and scammers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Some are free, while others may require payment – although it is usually low cost.
There are also third party services that you can use for this purpose. Apps like TrueCaller, Call Blocker, and Calls Blacklist are good options. The first two offer caller search capabilities and the second a blocking plan. If you’re getting repeated calls from popular numbers, these apps will help.
5. Never give up secure information
Robocallers are not hackers. You have to give them the information they want, they can’t just take it. The easiest way to protect your business from them is to never share this information. No reputable organization will call you and phone you for safe information.
When in doubt, you can always hang up, look up the company you are familiar with online and call directly from the verified number that you can find public. This will reduce the chances of fraud. If it is a bank or credit card that you need to contact, call the number on the back of your card or on your bank statements. You can transfer your call as needed.
Robocallers are easy to dismiss as a threat, but the reality is that many are getting smarter and smarter. Make sure you stay up to date on any new scam attempts and play them close to your chest with safe information. Only give it out on your terms, and not when someone calls to ask.
Another easy way to weed out robocalls from your practice is to hire an answering machine. At PATLive, our agents are trained to quickly detect robocallers and shut them down so they don’t pose a risk to you. In addition to scheduling appointments, recording messages, and customer recording, an answering machine can help keep your practice safe from scammers while you are running your practice. Scripting is fully customizable and PATLive has your phones covered 24/7. Try it for free today.