“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” As a child you may remember seeing the “Wizard of Oz” and remember the scene where Dorothy and crew walk down the yellow brick road arm-in-arm repeating this phrase over and over before the cowardly lion jumps out and scares them. As adults, we have a different mantra of 21st century items we fear daily. Specifically, what happens when our cellphone rings and whether it is a salesperson armed with an auto-dialer selling you something, a robocall informing you of something you don’t care about, or an outright spam call trying to trick you into something fraudulent.
In this article we cover:
A tool is a tool and not inherently good or bad until it is put to use. Once such example is the auto-dialer. It turns out that the first semi-automatic dialer launched in 1942 and could store between 12 and 52 numbers for rotary phone dialing to make it easier for a single person to queue up a number of calls without losing time between calls. The modern auto-dialer is an example of computer telephone integration technology and can simultaneous dial 2,000+ numbers. Howstuffworks.com describes it as:
“Automatic dialers, or autodialers, are an example of computer telephone integration (CTI). Using special software and a modem, a computer can be programmed to automatically dial a long list of phone numbers. Depending on the software’s sophistication, the computer can detect whether a live person answers the phone and then hand the call over to a human operator. The computer can also be programmed to play a recorded message, leave a message on an answering machine, or provide a menu of options to the person who answers.”
The website goes on to explain that:
“Autodialers aren’t evil.”
“It’s true that some companies use autodialers to power annoying telemarketing campaigns, but they have many other uses as well. A school could use an autodialer to alert parents and students to an unexpected closure. A doctor’s office could set up a system to remind senior citizens when to take their medication. A political candidate could dial out to thousands of residents to participate in a telephone town hall.”
However, autodialers today are seriously misused and abused, leading us to robocalls.
Robo Calls Demystified
As you might have deduced, a robocall is nothing more than a call made by a computer (which usually sounds like a robot) in order to leave a message instead of a live person to have a conversation. According to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website:
A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.
As highlighted above, there are times when a robocall is wanted like for school closure or a medical emergency, but you probably are dealing with a spam call more times than not.
Spam Calls Demystified
Fundamentally there are three types of spam calls:
- A company trying to sell you something: Before the days of digital ad targeting and social engineering, good old fashion telesales teams would reach out to thousands of people an hour to try and cold call into lists for sales opportunities. Even today, this method is used by large and small companies alike despite the new laws that make it illegal.
- A cybercriminal trying to defraud you: This is becoming a bit of an epidemic on its own. Cybercriminals will play the odds of sending out fear-based message proclaiming that you did something wrong (i.e. IRS debt) and reap the rewards as people blindly respond.
- Any unwanted call: In an election year like this one, the most likely type of spam call done as a robocall is some form of solicitation to have you vote for a particular candidate or a particular way on a measure.
However you look at it (or in this case “listen to it”) these are calls you would prefer not to get in the first place as they have a tendency to create a Pavlovian effect of having you not wanting to answer any calls. That begs the question: how can you protect yourself from these unwanted incursions into your privacy?
Make Every Ring Safe
Ideally you want every ring of your phone to be safe. You want to allow friends, family, customer and prospects to get a response that will exceed their expectations and you would rather spam and robocallers not get through at all. You want an end to the cellphone caller “whack-a-mole” game forever and so do we.
That’s why as part of our mission to make every ring safe for you, we made our free call blocking app, YouMail. Yes, it is truly free forever and you can get started in less than 5 minutes. If you decide to expand your business then YouMail can help with that as well with our premium offerings.