What happened to the ‘Do Not Call’ list?

Protecting Yourself Online

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — According to the FCC, spam calls are on the rise in some parts of the country. Scammers try to dupe unsuspecting people into revealing personal information, like a social security number, address, or password.

Even when people sign up for apps or systems designed to prevent these calls, they still come through. You might think that signing up for the Do Not Call registry is enough to protect you, but it’s not always that simple.

“The ‘Do Not Call Registry’ still exists. And the problem with the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ is that with current technology, you can fake a phone number that you’re calling from,” said Bill Gardner, a Cyber Security Assistant Professor at Marshall University. “You can pick a random phone number in the community and use that number to call from by basically doing some electronic wizardry.”

He said that, although helpful, the Do Not Call list has a few downfalls like its inability to block calls from charities or political affiliates. Gardner also said these scammers will target anyone who will answer the phone. “Usually it’s an older person who’s not savvy about what’s going on,” he said Gardner. “People who don’t have email, they’ll just call them and say, ‘This is the IRS,’ or, ‘This is the FBI and your social security card is expired,’ or some crazy thing like that.”

What can you do to stop them? “Don’t answer the phone,” explains Gardner. “If you don’t know the phone number, don’t answer the phone. Even if you do know the phone number, you have to be careful if you pick up the phone and someone’s asking you personal questions about your current living conditions or financial information. Just don’t give it out.”

He said that, as we get closer to the holiday season, we can expect to see an uptick in reported scam calls as people are expecting calls from loved ones or are just lonely. The Better Business Bureau recently put out a list of 12 scams expected to rise over the holidays. Many of those are targeting online and smartphone users.

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