Did you recently pick up a call from an unknown number again, only to find out it was another one of those dreaded telemarketing or spam calls? Your are not alone in this.
Unsolicited telemarketing and spam calls are a global menace. The world received nearly 26 billion spam calls between January and October 2019, and that’s nearly 50% more than the same period in 2018. In the US alone, users experienced nearly 18.2 spam calls a month in 2019. Complaints about illegal robocalls also skyrocketed from 63 000 each month in 2009, to almost 375 000 complaints a month in 2017 – a shocking six fold jump!
What exactly are telemarketing and spam calls?
Telemarketing calls are intended to contact prospective customers to determine if you would be a likely buyer of the products and services the calling company sells.
Spam calls, on the other hand, are irrelevant and even inappropriate calls that are sent en masse to a ton of recipients. Spam calls range from telemarketers trying to get you to buy something even after you’ve rejected their offer, robocalls and scams. By extension, spam calls can be both legal and illegal.
Robocalls are a type of spam call and they typically use an auto-dialer to transmit a prerecorded message to the recipient. The message often comes across as robotic, which is how the name “robocalls” came about.
The line between telemarketing and spam calls can easily blur, especially when the call is unsolicited from a stranger. There is no consensus on what where the difference really lies, but most would agree that good telemarketers tend to have already established a prior relationship with you directly (like your insurance agent or interior design contractor) or indirectly (like a salesperson from the auto dealer you purchased your car from), and have a reasonable basis for contacting you.
Why am I even receiving them in the first place?
Technology today gives “Big Brother is watching you” in a whole new meaning, and in the complex web spun around us your data can easily land in unscrupulous hands. If you are the unfortunate recipient of unsolicited telemarketing and spam calls, you likely:
Reason 1: You left contact on social media
If you leave your contact details on your social media, companies and individuals with the right tools can scrape through them and easily obtain any data that’s left in the open.
Reason 2: You overshared contact details on web forms
Ever won a lucky draw, or signed up for some e-shopping promotion? Web forms that accompany these events often collect your contact details and use them for marketing purposes in future.
Some forms might not even be for legitimate events or promotions. At worst, these may even be phishing attempts trying to extract sensitive personal data from you.
Reason 3: You neglected the fine print on contact details
Signed up for credit cards? Donated to charity? In certain situations, your contact details may be given to third-party vendors who work together with the organisation you had provided your contact details to.
Reason 4: Called a number that (surprise) collects other phone numbers
What sounds like an innocent phone conversation may in fact be a subtle exercise to collect your phone number. In the US, calling any number that starts with 800, 888 or 900 will result in your contact details being saved in databases. Companies that have access to them then use the collected numbers for their telemarketing efforts.
Reason 5: Just so happened to be randomly picked.
Or it’s just plain randomness. Spam callers and telemarketers may simply make calls to a list of numbers, or use highly sophisticated auto-dialing systems that dial and re-dial random phone numbers to reach people they do not know. There's no grand strategy behind this, and your phone number simply got dialed at random.
How do I stop getting so many telemarketing / spam calls?
It’s easy to see now how so many people can easily get hold of your number, and worse still is the fact that that technology is constantly lowering the barriers to entry. This makes things ever easier for people to engage in unethical telemarketing and scam calls, and it’s likely that these practices will continue to plague us for the time being.
Now for the good news: Just as it’s easy for people to drop spam calls, it’s also easy for you to stop these calls from coming in. The solutions however NOT include blocking individual numbers one by one. If you’re still doing that, stop right now and you’ll avoid coming to the realisation that all your efforts just amount to fruitless frustration.
There are smarter ways to get back at unsolicited calls, like:
Solution 1: Removing all your contact details from your social media.
Social media privacy has never been a hotter issue, and if you’re someone who prefers the anonymity of user handles over phone numbers on communication apps, then all the more this would make sense to you. Removing your contact details from your profile page, however, may not be sufficient, especially if you have previously shared your contact details in groups or posts.
Solution 2: Registering your number on a national Do-Not-Call Registry
Not all countries have a Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry, but if yours does then be sure to get your number included. When your number goes into a DNC registry, organisations are legally obliged to confirm your number is not listed on it before making telemarketing calls or messages.
Take note however, that adding your phone number to a DNC registry does not put a complete stop to unwanted calls. Often, DNC registries simply prohibit sales calls from legitimate companies. Unscrupulous Individuals and companies can simply ignore them and engage in their own unethical practices.
Solution 3: Getting your telco to block telemarketing / spam calls
Many telcos worldwide provide a variety of add-on services that deal with unsolicited calls, and these include a blanket block that only allows calls from users on your Accept List, or a call intercept service that requires an audio verification from the caller. These services are not fool-proof however, and may place inconvenience by inadvertently denying calls from legitimate sources that you’d otherwise want to pick up.
(BEST) Solution 4: Using a fake phone number app like Phoner.
If you’re want to shut down telemarketing and spam calls for good, this is the best solution out here. The core problem with unwanted telemarketing and spam calls is the fact that people whom you don’t want to have your number, have somehow gotten your number.
If phone numbers are the issue, why not just use a fake phone number?
That’s exactly what second phone number apps can do for you. With a second phone number you can use on a flexible basis, your digital privacy can be kept safe and sound. It’s basically a cheaper and more efficient version of a burner phone, plus a whole range of other privacy protection features like.
Keep telemarketing and spam calls away with Phoner.
The world of second phone number apps is an extremely crowded one, but Phoner stands out for its highly praised clean and intuitive interface. With more than 10 000 ratings and an overall score of 4.5 /5, Phoner makes protecting your mobile privacy and safety easy and fuss-free.
Whether you’re dating online, running a business or just simply want to feel safer on your mobile phone, our phone-number masking feature will meet your mobile privacy needs with no contracts, free texting and reliable calling. Get Phoner today and put a stop to those pesky telemarketing and spam calls!