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What You Can Do to Stop Unwanted Robocalls — Windstream’s Spam Call Alert

Friday, August 2, 2019

Are you signed up for the Do Not Call Registry? Are you still getting those pesky robocalls from telemarketers and other spam? 

If so, we’re guessing you may be a little frustrated. And, who wouldn’t be?

The truth of it, though, is that you aren’t alone. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the registry had nearly 230 million active registrations, up about 4 million from the year before, according to the Congressional Research Service. Yet, at least two robocall-blocker companies reported an uptick in the number of spam calls from 2017 to 2018, with one carrier estimating as many as 47.8 billion robocalls in the U.S. in 2018.

Had enough? Fortunately, our Kinetic by Windstream team is here to help you identify potential robocallers and give you new ways to stop spam calls.

The Different Types

Know that not all robocalls — those with a prerecorded message or artificial voice — are illegal. Think of the ones you may get from your pharmacy that let you know when you may need a refill as an example. Or, the ones informing you about a school closure. 

It’s the unwanted or unsolicited calls that really get to you, and the first step in stopping those is, of course, to correctly identify them.

Here’s a look at the various types of robocalls: 

1. Spoofing

Spoofing occurs when a caller deliberately misrepresents the information transmitted to your caller ID display to mask his or her real identity. When done maliciously, the trick is part of a broader scheme in which the caller will try to get personal or sensitive information from you. Know, too, that businesses may use this as a way to call without showing a toll-free number.

In recent years, this has taken the form of a number that may have the same area code as you or even the same area code and the first six digits of your phone number.

2. Political Calls

It’s the age when 20 plus candidates want to run for president. And, depending on where you live, local races may get heated, too. That means that you’ll likely receive a robocall here or there in support of or against particular political candidates. If you’re using a landline, the bad news is that these are allowed — even without your consent. 

3. Commercial Calls

Commonly known as telemarketing, commercial calls are those in which a salesperson will call prospective customers to sell a product or service. These make up a large part of robocalls: one study estimates it was nearly 20 percent of the total amount of robocalls in 2018! Save for a few exceptions (political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors or companies with which the responding party has an existing business relationship), you will not receive telemarketing calls if you are on the Do Not Call Registry. 

4. Scams

Nearly 40 percent of all robocalls are scams, according to one study. These can take the form of health or health insurance scams to tax scams. More often than not, these calls can appear as though they are coming from your bank, say, but will prompt you for personal information with which the scammer can steal your identity. Look for these other signs of a scam.

How to Stop Spam Calls

Now that you have a few ideas of the different types of calls you might receive, you’ll want to know what you can do about robocalls. 

If you’re already a Kinetic by Windstream customer, the good news is that we have you covered! We’ve launched a new “Spam Call Alert” feature — at no cost — that will notify our home phone users whether an incoming call might be spam. 

So, when you receive an incoming call, you’ll see one of three messages on your caller ID screen: 

  • FRAUDULENT CALL: Calls originating from invalid, unallocated and unassigned telephone numbers, as well as calls originating from inbound-only numbers that should never make outbound calls.
  • SPAM? with caller ID: Calls with a high probability of being a robocall.
  • Regular caller ID: Information, including a name and address, will show as normal for these calls.

From there, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to answer the call, leave it alone or even block the number. To do so, you’ll first want to ensure that the service is on by dialing *60. Once you’ve turned it on, press #01# to add the last caller to your selective call rejection list, and follow the instructions. To add any number, press the pound key and follow the recorded instructions.

If you find that a phone number is not fraudulent or a scam, or if your own number is listed as such, customers can call 1-800-347-1991 and report it. Someone from our team would then call the customer once the ticket is resolved.

At Kinetic by Windstream, we understand that robocalls are not only a nuisance but can also leave you a stolen identity or even lost money. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly $350 million is lost each year to phone scams. That’s why we’ve created this caller ID spam protection — to ensure that your information remains private.