What are robocalls and how can you avoid getting scammed by them?
Wikipedia defines a robocall as ‘a phone call that uses a computerized auto-dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message, as if from a robot.’ In layperson terms, if you answer a call and hear a recorded message instead of a real person on the other side, you are listening to a robocall. Robocalls are most commonly attributed to telemarketing phone campaigns, but can also be used for emergency or public service announcements.
Are all robocalls scam calls?
Robocalling software makes calls to millions of people every day and though some of them are intended to communicate to you important messages such as flight cancellations and payment reminders, most of them are trying to sell you something or trying to scam you. Billions of robocalls are made each month globally and they are widely considered a nuisance. Unfortunately, technology has made robocalls cheaper and more accessible to telemarketers and scammers, thereby making them more frequent.
Where did it all start?
Tony Inocentes, a California debt collector, introduced the world to robocalling. He developed the first-ever robocalling system in order to announce his candidacy for the state’s 57th Assembly District in January 1983. By 1989, he had developed commercial robocalling software for debt collection agencies. What started out as a technological advancement meant to make mass communication simpler and cost-effective, has snowballed into a worldwide problem.
According to Hiya’s 2019 Global Robocall Radar Report, spam calls grew by a staggering 325% to 85 billion calls globally. Countries like India, Pakistan and the Dominican Republic, are amongst the major sources of scam robocalls according to Josh Bercu, Vice President - Policy and Advocacy at USTelecom, an association that organizes the industry’s robocalling tracing efforts.
What should I do when I receive a robocall?
In the scenario of you receiving a robocall, the best thing to do is to not answer. If you answer the call, scammers mark your number as a viable lead, even if you do not fall prey to the scam. They will try again later, knowing that the person on the other side is a potential victim of fraud. Hence, theoretically, the fewer robocalls you answer, the fewer of them you will receive in the future. However, the difficulty lies in identifying whether an unknown call is a robocall and further if a robocall is in fact a spam robocall.
Do they come in different shapes and sizes?
Spam robocalls can be of multiple types including spoofing calls, charity scams, loan scams, etc. A call that spoofs or imitates a local number is termed a spoofing call. Travel scams tend to offer free or low-cost vacations and ask the user to input their credit card details to avail of the offer. Similarly, loan or credit card scams offer users, especially those with poor credit scores, loans or credit cards for a small upfront fee. Customer care scams are also quite common, with robocalls seeming to originate from your bank, your most frequently used e-commerce website, etc.
How Doosra outsmarts robocalls
Robocalls or scam calls, in general, can not only be a nuisance to your routine life but can also be a threat to your privacy and financial security. As technology gets smarter, it is becoming easier for scammers to find innovative ways to defraud people, especially when our lives are getting increasingly digitized and legislation around curbing scams is unable to catch up.
A Doosra number is a secondary number that can be used on your existing phone with the help of an app. It auto-blocks all unauthorized calls to your phone and redirects them to voicemail. So even if your Doosra number lands in the hands of robocallers they will never be able to reach you, thereby protecting you from all kinds of robocalling scams.