How to Protect Yourself from Robocalls and Spam Text Messages
As we adjust to a new day-to-day of social distancing and trying to figure out how not to binge watch all of our favorite tv shows at once, we’re also adopting new ways to communicate with one another. From video calls with friends and family to virtual doctor’s appointments, we’re relying on technology more and more to stay in contact with the people around us.
Unfortunately, this often goes hand-in-hand with spammers who are using these same tools to push products, services, and even scams on the masses. In past years, and increasingly in the past few months, these efforts have transpired in the form of robocalls and spam text messages.
Robocalls and Spam Text Messages
In April of this year alone, 2.9 billion robocalls were placed in the United States. That’s an average of more than eight calls per person per day. While it’s important to keep in mind that not all robocalls are spam calls – for instance, pre-recorded calls from your local government, recorded prescription reminders from your pharmacy, and even recorded status updates from your child’s school district are considered robocalls – a large number of robocalls are unsolicited and intended for commercial use or phishing.
Phishing robocalls and texts can be particularly dangerous as hackers become more creative and adept at creating rouses that seem realistic; from calls claiming to be from the IRS and asking for your social security number to text messages claiming to be holding your Amazon package hostage with a ransom. Recently, a member of our team has even received spam text messages that claim to provide links to entertainment news articles.
How Do I Protect Myself from Robo-Scams?
It can be scary to have a no-name, no-face adversary; especially during a time when we need technology in order to work, keep ourselves entertained, and stay connected to the people we love. The best way to protect yourself from robocalls and spam text messages is to simply not engage. Don’t recognize the phone number? Don’t answer the phone. If you do answer the phone by mistake, the FCC suggests hanging up immediately. Do not engage, whether it’s a person or a robot. By engaging, you let potential scammers know that your phone number is active and, therefore, you’re a potential target.
Our suggestion for avoiding text scams is the same – do not interact with them (don’t click on any links!) Unless it’s a sender that you recognize and trust, don’t open links – even if they appear to be from trustworthy sources like news outlets. It’s also a good idea to keep close track of those institutions you’ve given permission to for SMS (text/media) messaging. For example, you may have opted into receiving text message alerts from your pharmacy to notify you when your prescription is ready. If this is the case, save that number as a contact, or know what to look for in order to identify trusted numbers.
Unfortunately, there is really no sure-fire way of completely avoiding robocalls or spam text messages aside from getting rid of your phone completely, and for the vast majority of people, that’s simply not an option. As it stands, the best thing you can do to prevent future spam calls and texts is to block the numbers as they come through. Not sure how? Here are instructions for iPhone and Android users.
Have questions about other ways you can improve your online security – especially for your website? Reach out to us at inquiry@mediaG.com or by phone at (248) 687-7888. We’ll happily answer your questions and work with you to determine the best security solutions for you.