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Spam call protection
© Andrey Popov |
Security & privacy

The one word you should never say to a telemarketer or scam caller

You might get dozens of spam calls weekly, but you might not know where the companies got your number. Thousands of data brokers peddle information, and it could be the source of your annoyance. That’s why we started our Opt-Out Tuesday series with instructions on removing data from sites like FreePhoneTracer. Tap or click here for details.

The best thing to do is avoid answering your phone when the caller ID shows something strange. But if you answer a spam call, there is one word you should never say to a telemarketer or scam caller.

Read on for a simple way to protect yourself by not saying the wrong thing.

Here’s the backstory

Your phone number is most likely on a list if you have ever received a spam call. Whether you entered it for access to a website, wrote it down in an attendance register or used it for a competition, it’s in the hands of data brokers.

Other companies then purchase contact information lists to target with telemarketing or robocalls. Unfortunately, scammers can also find your phone number through public information and people search sites, leading to an increase in spam or scam calls.

Scammers aren’t positive that your phone number is active before making the initial call. That’s why not answering unsolicited calls from unknown numbers is a key to staying protected. As soon as you answer a call from an unknown number, the caller knows your line is active, which could lead to more calls.

Never say this word during a spam call

But sometimes, you might get a call appearing to be from a legitimate company or agency. Unfortunately, that can also be a problem. Scammers are getting better at spoofing phone numbers to make them seem like authentic calls.

So, what do you do if you answer the call and it’s a telemarketer or spam call? The best move is to hang up quickly. But there is one word you should never say, and that word is Yes. Even if the caller asks if they are speaking to the correct person, don’t say it.

Other tricks scammers use is playing a recording of someone asking if you can hear them. Don’t fall for it. It seems dramatic, but there is a good reason.

Many banks use voice verification tools to authenticate calls from customers. If a scammer has a recording of you saying the word yes, they can use it to fool your bank and rip you off. So do not engage with an unknown caller by answering yes to any of their questions.

Here are other tricks you can use to keep yourself and your data safe:

  • Use a third-party caller identification system such as Truecaller. It’s available for Android and iOS and contains a massive database of user-submitted phone numbers marked as spam callers. Tap or click here for more details.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone when receiving unsolicited calls.
  • When you receive a robocall, the best thing is to hang up immediately. Don’t press buttons on your phone, even if the call gives you the option to stop or be removed from its contact list.
  • If you receive a spam call, hang up and block the number on your device. This will ensure the caller can’t reach you again.
  • Check with your mobile carrier if they provide some form of call blocking. Most major carriers offer this for free. Tap or click for ways to stop bots and spammers from calling you all day long.

Keep reading

Top 5 scam calls and what you can do to get them to finally stop

Scam callers posing as phone providers – Here’s what happens if they trick you

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