How to Handle Spam Calls to Your Business
Spam calls are a complaint of people in the US, and they are on the rise. In fact, they were the number one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2017. Over seven million complaints have been made against spam callers, including reports about robocallers or human telemarketers. Spam calls can be grouped into two major categories: legal and illegal.
Types of Legal Spam Calls:
These are calls from a real business, but they are unsolicited or undesired. These calls have the purpose of getting you to purchase something: a product, service, subscription, etc. They can be a nuisance, since they can take up you and your employees’ precious time or provide misleading information.
Legal robocalls are previously recorded messages, and are legally allowed when the caller needs to communicate messages that are considered necessary consumer information. These might include updates from schools or public offices, appointment reminders, flight cancellations, and bank fraud alerts.
In some cases, these calls can be helpful. An example is if there is a water main break in your area causing traffic delays, and the robocall is placed to inform your organization to take alternate routes when driving. Most of the time, however, these are meant for large groups and often end up being irrelevant to your business.
Legal Charities & Market Research:
The purpose of these calls is to solicit money or opinions from businesses. They tend to be time consuming and distracting. While some may benefit good causes, these callers try to target people who will impulsively give their time or money.
Types of Illegal Spam Calls:
Illegal spam calls are much more dangerous, as they are designed to scam individuals and businesses. These typically include:
These are non-urgent phone calls containing a pre-recorded message. What makes them illegal is that you haven’t given written permission to receive them. Interestingly, these often originate from legitimate registered businesses that are breaking the law. These calls are often targeting people for identity theft and other fraud. In addition to disrupting your employees, these can greatly affect your business’s security and finances if the person that receives the call falls for the scam.
These usually involve a real caller who is misrepresenting their organization to scam you. They can steal your money, personal identity, or both. The IRS Phone Scam and the Social Security Number Scam are both good examples of this. The IRS scam alone generated almost $14 million in fraudulent payments from unsuspecting consumers since 2013. There are a few important and fairly easy steps you can take to ensure that your business doesn’t fall victim to spam calls.
How to Keep Your Business Safe from Spam Callers:
Tip 1: Use Reverse Phone Lookup to Filter Calls
If your caller ID shows an unknown number, you can utilize a reverse phone lookup service to research it before picking up. Find a reliable website that offers this and instruct your employees to check all unfamiliar phone numbers before answering any calls.
Tip 2: Register Your Business Phone Numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry
All of your business phone lines, whether they are landlines or cell phones, can be added to the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting www.donotcall.gov. This may not end all calls but will greatly reduce them.
Tip 3: Report Unwanted Calls
Use the same website that’s mentioned above to report unwanted calls to the Do Not Call Registry. This can be done when at least 31 days have passed since you registered your phone numbers to the site.
Tip 4: Stay Informed on Common Scams, and Inform Your Staff
Part of your job as a business owner should be staying abreast of ongoing scams. Research cyber security informational sites and read news from the Federal Trade Commission to educate yourself and your colleagues about scams that are going around.
Conclusion: Avoiding Spam Calls Should Be a Priority
Spam calls can be annoying and disruptive to your business operations. Luckily, taking the steps outlined above can greatly reduce them, and give you valuable resources for managing incoming spam calls.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.