Are You Suddenly Getting More Spam Calls?
When Becca Andrews’ mother received a call claiming there was something wrong with her Amazon account, she just wanted to make sure her money was safe. But a few hours later, scammers had fleeced her out of $11,000 — along with her Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, and driver’s license number [*].
Scam, spam, and unwanted calls have quickly become the top consumer complaint received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [*].
In 2022 alone, Americans were flooded with over 50 billion robocalls and spam calls — with victims losing an estimated $39.5 billion [*].
If you’re tired of receiving so many spam calls or are worried that you’ve been scammed, there are steps you can take to stay safe.
In this guide, we’ll explain why spam calls have become so rampant in 2023, how to protect your phone, and what to do if you’ve fallen victim to a phone scam.
Why Am I Getting So Many Spam Calls in 2023?
Spam calls comprise any unwanted or unsolicited calls that you receive, including:
- Telemarketing calls from marketers who are trying to sell you products from a (usually) legitimate company.
- Robocalls or pre-recorded statements that try to get you to buy a product or follow up with a company. Some of these are legal, automated calls for notifications or bills. However, the majority are illegal calls designed to redirect you to a scammer.
- Scam calls that try to trick you into sharing your personal or financial information using “vishing” techniques. Phone scammers often impersonate well-known companies or agencies, such as Amazon, Apple, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Scam phone calls and text messages have been on the rise for years. Luckily, they’ve started to taper off as the FCC, carriers, and phone companies try to tackle the issue. For example, the FCC recently mandated that U.S. carriers need to adopt Stir/Shaken technology to block international scammers from spoofing local phone numbers [*].
Yet, despite their efforts, Americans still receive billions of How to Spam a phone number every month.
So, why are you receiving more spam calls? And how do scammers get your phone number? Here are five reasons why you might be receiving more spam calls than ever before:
Data brokers sold your number to scammers
Data brokers scrape the internet for publicly available information about you and then sell it to marketers or scammers number.
While you can request that these companies remove your personal information, the unfortunate truth is that there are hundreds of data brokers in the United States alone [*] — making it almost impossible to keep your contact information private.
Instead, Aura’s identity theft protection service can automatically scan data broker lists for your personal information and request removal on your behalf.
Your phone number was leaked in a data breach
Data breaches are among the most common ways that scammers get access to your phone number. In 2022, 166 million people had their personal data stolen in data breaches from companies including Twitter, Uber, and WhatsApp [*].
If you find out that your phone number has been leaked in a data breach, you should take steps to protect yourself and your information. This includes changing your passwords and monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.
While no one can completely protect you from data breaches, you can take action to minimize the harm that a breach can cause. Aura’s identity theft monitoring solution scans online sources, public databases, and recent data breaches for your personal information. You’ll receive an alert in near real-time if your phone number or other information has been compromised.
You accidentally answered a scam call in the past
When you answer or respond to a spam call, you alert spammers that your phone number is active. They will then mark your number as “live” and you’ll receive more and more calls as they try to reach you using different numbers.
It can be hard to tell if you’re dealing with a scammer — but if you accidentally answer a spam call, you should hang up immediately. The less information that you provide to scammers, the better. Avoid answering any questions if a robocall asks something like, “Hello, can you hear me?” and hang up the call.
Scammers will only leave you alone when they’re sure you won’t answer or fall for their tricks. So, if you see an unknown number, don’t answer.