Mobile phones made a lot of things a lot easier in life, but they bring in their fair share of annoyances. When you want to be available for calls at your leisure while out and about, it's a pain to deal with nuisance calls such as telemarketers, scammers, or bill collectors. To stop them, there are a few options depending on how far you want to go and how annoying the callers are. Here are a few steps to reduce annoying calls from people you don't know, and ways to figure out what their goal was in the first place.
What Are Robocalls, And Why Do They Happen?
The term robocall is a portmanteau of robot call, meaning a call created by an automated system. Because most of the world's phone technology is computer-based as opposed to the old switchboard style, sending a call can be a scheduled task as simple as setting an alarm--in fact, at the programming level, it's just an alarm that makes a call.
These calls happen because some businesses want to make a sale by any means possible. It unfortunately works; send out a net in the form of robocalls to hundreds of thousands of people and someone will buy something. The calls are inexpensive to make, so the people making these calls are making money by catching anyone they can.
Robocalls can range from the friendly business offer variety to scammers pretending to be the police or the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). There's no shortage of videos about scammers being counter-scammed and there are many people who ignore the calls, but enough people give over their information to make it a lucrative--albeit illegal--business model.
Simply being a robotic or automated call is not illegal, and not always actionable by harassment law. Reminder calls about scheduled meetings or bills from companies you do business with are automated, but can be stopped at request.
Stopping Robocalls At Multiple Levels
If you're getting calls at strange hours from companies you do business with, simply call them and ask to change the scheduled calls. This is a lot easier in the long run than blocking the calls, since you'll likely need those for regular correspondence. In many cases, robocalls will come from the same phone number you use for normal business.
For businesses you know nothing about, you may want to call them as well. If it's the wrong number, ask them to remove you from their system. In some cases, it could be an aggressive sales attempt, and you'll be nagged for a purchase even if you're not the intended target.
If you're constantly getting robocalls either after answering one robocall, it's probably because your phone number was sold as part of a list that is being passed around. This isn't always because you answered the call; the person who had your number previously could have done business with the company or became a target.
Robocalls can be both managed and blocked by apps, such as the Stealth Mode App. Management instead of block-only services are important because false positives--mistaking a legitimate call for a robocall--is an issue, especially when a robocall company changes their number and a legitimate caller gets the number.
You may also want to research the number for your own justice, such as tracking down and exposing scammers or making note of harassment. Contact a call-blocking and call management expert to find an app to block robocalls for your specific phone model.