Tips for dealing with harassing spam phone calls.
If you are having issues with harassing phone calls, please contact UW Police Department (UWPD) at 608-264-2477 so they can investigate.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), unwanted calls are far and away the biggest consumer complaint to the FCC with over 200,000 complaints each year—around 60 percent of all the complaints received. Unfortunately, advancements in technology make it cheap and easy to make robocalls and to "spoof" caller ID information to hide a caller's true identity. It’s estimated that U.S. consumers received approximately 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016.
Because telephone numbers are able to be spoofed so easily, it makes blocking calls difficult. Caller ID showing a "local" number no longer means it is necessarily a local caller. Because we are not able to gather the true caller ID of the call, we are not able to block the calls from that number. We are not able to block calls on a phone-by-phone basis. Numbers need to be blocked from all of campus.
We are currently looking into technological solutions to help combat this issue.
Here are a few tips you can try:
- Depending on your job responsibilities, don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail. Pressing Decline on your Cisco phone will send the call directly to voicemail. Pressing ignore will silence the ringing for the call.
- If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, or asks you to say "yes" in response to a question, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents, or to use your "yes" to apply unauthorized charges on your bill.
- If you answer and the caller asks for payment using a gift card, it's likely a scam. Legitimate organizations, such as law enforcement or the IRS, will not ask for payment with a gift card.
- If you receive a scam call, file a complaint with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center by selecting the "phone" option and selecting "unwanted calls." The data they collect helps them track trends and supports their enforcement investigations.
- If you have lost University money on your University phone because of a scam call, contact your supervisor. If you have lost personal money on your University phone because of a scam call, contact UWPD for assistance.
- You can also visit the FCC's website for more information about illegal robocalls.