The Federal Trade Commission received more than 700 submissions to its Robocall Challenge ( robocall.challenge.gov), a competition urging innovators to find solutions to block illegal robocalls.
The judges will review submissions over the next few months.
Recently, I received two robocalls that made me hope that the FTC finds the solution.
The first came into my office line, claiming to be informational and then offering a service to lower monthly credit card payments and interest rates. The recorded voice asked me to gather all of my credit cards, along with balances and interest rates, and then to call a toll-free number. I quickly wrote down the toll-free number and the number on my caller ID. I smelled a scam, hung up and didn’t call them back.
Don’t give your credit card information to unsolicited callers. Instead, hang up on the robocaller and check out the FTC’s Consumer Information page “Dealing with Debt” at www.consumer.ftc. gov/topics/dealing-debt.
The second robocall came to my cellphone and warned me of suspected unauthorized activity on my JPMorgan Chase credit card and instructed me to press 1 to authorize the activity or press 2 to speak to the fraud department. I knew the call was a scam because I don’t carry that card. Also, caller ID showed the incoming number as all zeros. I immediately hung up.
What if you receive a similar robocall and do have the credit card or service in question? You should hang up too. If you think the phone call may be real, call your credit card company directly.
What if you press a number in response to the robocall? Well, you may just get more illegal robocalls in the future.
Robocall software often dials phone numbers not knowing which ones are live and which are not yet issued. If they get a response, usually the press of a button, then the phone number is added to the live list to call later or immediately transferred to a telemarketer or scammer.
Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor