Be Ready. Be Covered. Be Sure.

Are you receiving calls from a local number that turns out to be a robocall telemarketer? Following these steps will help you turn the tables on them, remove your number from the list used and take back some of your free time wasted on these calls. Telemarketers have deployed technology to mask their actual number and make it appear the call is coming from a local number which increases the likelihood of you answering the call.

In a Robocall Strike Force Report in October, the Federal Communications Commission said telemarketing calls were the No. 1 consumer complaint.

YouMail, a developer of robocall-blocking software, the commission said consumers received an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls per month last year, driven by internet-powered phone systems that have made it cheap and easy to make them from anywhere in the world.

The calls are annoying at best, and outright fraudulent at worst.  Callers pretending to represent the Internal Revenue Service claim the person answering the phone owes back taxes and threatens them with legal action. The scheme has reaped more than $54 million, the FCC said.

Here’s how you can fight the robocalls:

First option not available for business owners

The most simple and effective remedy is to not answer numbers you don’t know. This may be a solution to the problem for most people, but for business owners hoping to receive a call from a new customer this is not an option, further steps must be taken.

Add your number to not call list

List your phones on the National Do Not Call Registry. If your number is on the registry and you do get unwanted calls, report them.

Setup technology

Download apps such as Truecaller, RoboKiller, Mr. Number, Nomorobo and Hiya, which will block the calls.

Turn the tables

And then there is the Jolly Roger Telephone Co., which turns the tables on telemarketers. This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged.

The robots string the callers along with vocal fillers like “Uh-huh” and “OK, OK.” After several minutes, some will ask the callers to repeat their sales pitch from the beginning, prompting the telemarketers to have angry meltdowns, according to sample recordings posted on the company’s website.

Be careful what you say

Say “yes” on a recorded line can be used later to allow unauthorized charges on the person’s credit card account, the FCC warned in March.

When the caller asks, “Can you hear me?” and the consumer answers “yes,” the caller can gain a voice signature that can later be used to authorize fraudulent charges by telephone.

Best to answer with “I can hear you.”

This artificial intelligence can be programmed to interact in real time with a consumer and is continuing to involve with new techniques. Take action to protect your valuable time and remaining patients.