Americans receive nearly 130 million robocalls a day, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. The calls are often scams. Con artists can spoof numbers to make it look like the call is coming from your area code or even a government agency.
But many of these messages could soon be blocked. Today, June 30th, is the FCC deadline for major U.S. phone providers to adopt technology called STIR/SHAKEN, which validates a call and means the number you see is legit. “So, in theory a fake phone call or a spoofed phone call will not be able to get through. Shaken and stir is supposed to be built into the networks, so you won’t have to do anything for it to work,” says CNET’s Ian Sherr.
It’s hoped STIR/SHAKEN will significantly cut down the number of robocalls we receive, but it won’t completely stop them. “Whenever you build any type of security, people are going to find a way around,” Sherr says.
For example, spam callers can buy legitimate 1-800 numbers or go through overseas phone companies that don’t have the STIR/SHAKEN technology.
Sherr says that’s why you shouldn’t answer calls you don’t recognize. “When you pick up your phone and the scammers know you’re on the other end of the line, they mark you as someone who could potentially be a victim one day, and they actually sell your phone number to other people saying, hey, there’s someone on the other end of this who’s willing to pick up,” says Sherr.
There are other ways to hang up on scammers. Many companies offer apps with extra protection that can help make sure the calls you receive are real.