Unwanted robocalls are more than a nuisance; it’s a major global problem. In one year, there are 85 billion robocalls. That’s a shocking 325 percent increase from 2018 figures.
In South Africa, the problem is pervasive, and our country has been ranked fourth in the world for having the most robocalls.
Top Robocall Scams in South Africa
About 49 percent of unwanted robocalls in South Africa are scam related. Another 38 percent of spam phone calls are telemarketing. While both can be annoying, the phone scams have the potential to result in financial loss, identity theft, unauthorized charges, or security risks.
One of the most popular robocall scams in South Africa is tech support fraud. This starts with a criminal calling to tell you that your online account has been compromised. Through their story, they are able to manipulate victims into providing their access credentials.
Another common scam starts with a missed call. The robodialer will ring your phone only once and then hang up. They are usually dialing from an international number, so it would be very costly if you decide to call back the phone number. With these one ring phone scams, returning the call could result in a connection fee and a significant per-minute charge added to your phone bill.
The third most popular phone scam involves a caller impersonating a hiring manager who is offering you a job. The catch is that they want an upfront fee and your personal information.
Protecting Yourself Against Robocalls
Now that you know what scams are common, let’s discuss how you can avoid robocalls to protect yourself and your family.
Your first line of defense is to simply not answer any phone call when you don’t know the incoming number. This is an easy way to protect yourself from malicious parties who are trying to scam you.
The only downside to this approach is that you may be left wondering who exactly that missed call was from. To help you resolve the mystery, a reverse phone search on PeopleFinders can reveal the owner’s name, address, email address, phone provider, and other background details. Not only will this help you determine if the missed call was from someone you know, but the information can help you to do your own sleuthing to check if the caller is actually telling the truth about who they are.
Another option to protect yourself against phone scams is to install a robocall blocker on your cell phone. These call blocking solutions may be available directly through your phone service carrier, typically costing a few dollars per month. There are also third-party apps that can block robocalls based on lists of known offenders. Nomorobo is a popular app that is so advanced that it can differentiate spam robocalls from legitimate robocalls such as appointment reminders or school updates.
Ultimate Solution for Avoiding Robocalls
The extreme solution for avoiding robocalls is to limit incoming calls to only your contacts list. This option may not be right for everyone or for all situations. However, when you’re faced with an onslaught of unwanted calls, a “contacts only” solution may be a smart choice.
The risk with this option is that by you’ll also stop incoming call that you want to receive but are originating from a phone number not in your contacts list.
For most smartphones, going “contacts only” involves using the Do Not Disturb feature on the device. After activating Do Not Disturb in your settings, you’ll then add the qualifier to allow calls from all contacts, thus preventing unknown phone numbers from getting through.
Depending on your service provider and device, you may still be able to see a missed call if a phone number was blocked. This can give you the info you need for a reverse phone search on PeopleFinders to determine if the missed call is someone you want to call back.