I’ve noticed it. You’ve noticed it. Robocalls and spam calls are interrupting your peace of mind and your day more and more frequently. You may even be obsessed with trying to figure out how to block spam calls to your business phone number.
Why are they coming through? You may have noticed when you started your business, that putting your number online increased the phone calls you receive, both legitimate and not. That’s just a side effect of doing business online.
Don’t worry. Though it may feel like it, you’re not completely powerless against these unwanted calls. Here are steps you can take to block spam calls to your business and report unwanted telemarketing messages.
1. Don’t engage.
The best thing you can do to deter spammers is to ignore them. Though it’s tempting to pick up the phone and give them a piece of your mind, don’t. That’s because answering the phone is your first wrong step. The second you answer the phone, you’ve inadvertently told the scammer(s) your phone number is legitimate—information they might not have had otherwise.
As a business owner, we know it’s in your best business to answer the phone. Any call could be your next sale, so you want to make sure you’re available for new leads and current customers whose numbers you may not know by heart or might not have saved.
Here’s the trick. Avoid answering phone numbers that look too much like your own. Spammers and scammers are using new technology to make their caller IDs mimic your phone number. This is their best attempt to make you think it’s a familiar number and get you to pick up the phone. If you see a call come in from a number that matches your area code and the first three digits of your number exactly, don’t pick up. (More on this tactic later.)
If, however, you’re in rush, you might accidentally pick up anyway. The next best thing you can do is avoid speaking as soon as you realize the call is spam. Hang up instantly, and avoid saying any affirming words like, “yes” or “OK.” If you agree to anything, even unintentionally, you might fall victim to the latest online listings scam.
2. Ask to be taken off the list.
This may seem obvious, but legitimate companies typically comply with the rules and regulations around telemarketing. These are the companies that you may have done business in the past or which may still be trying to earn your business.
Unlike scammers that may use multiple “spoofed” phone numbers (the numbers that look too much like your own) to try to get in touch, they’ll call from a legitimate business phone number when trying to reach you.
If a legitimate business contacts you and you’d like them to stop, simply ask to be taken off their marketing list. Emphasize that you no longer wish to receive promotional calls, texts or email messages.
3. List your business on the Do Not Call Registry.
Unfortunately, telling each and every spammer to “take me off your list” just doesn’t seem to work anymore. Lucky for us, there is a broader “list” you can put your business phone number on to reduce the number of unwanted spam calls to your business. Here’s where to go to join the National Do Not Call Registry.
Once you’re on this registry, you should see a dip in spam calls you get to your business line. Even then, some spammers will get through. (It turns out policing this registry is pretty tough, and the chances of a business getting fined for going against this registry are fairly small. Bummer.)
If spammers do get through to you even after joining this registry, and you accidentally pick up the phone, remind them that you are on the list. Then, tell them you intend to report them for being out of compliance.
4. Report unwanted calls.
It’s not enough to threaten reporting those unwanted calls. You actually have to follow through.
Here’s where you can report unwanted phone calls, via the Do Not Call Registry’s complaints page on their website.
5. Block them.
Popular U.S. phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have methods for blocking and fighting robocalls. Basically, they help you identify problematic numbers for their records, and they protect you against future calls.
Remember, not all telemarketing calls are created equal. Legitimate companies that call from one phone number (spammers) will be a lot easier to block than scammers that use robocalls and multiple vanity phone numbers.
Remember those too-familiar phone numbers we mentioned earlier? Scammers wised up to phone company blocking capabilities a long time ago. That’s why they’re using new technology to make it appear they’re calling from different phone numbers. And those phone numbers that match your area code and/or the first few digits of your number will definitely seem more familiar.
Still, block each individual number that calls, and you’ll help the phone companies better identify these callers in the future.
Here’s how. On both Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android systems, it’s easy to block individual phone numbers. Open your Phone app, and view your recent calls. Then, tap on the number in question (or its options icon), and choose Block this Caller or Report Spam.
6. Pay for protection.
Though it’s likely your last resort, some business owners are so fed up with spam calls, you may be willing to pay for better protection against them.
And if you’re willing to pay a little extra, the phone companies are willing to help. Here’s how each of the top 4 phone companies we mentioned earlier offers additional protection against spam calls to your business.
- Verizon: Download the Caller Name ID app. Within the app, you can subscribe to a service for $2.99 a month that enables a spam filter for your phone.
- AT&T: AT&T Call Protect Plus costs $3.99 a month. This option offers automatic fraud blocking and will warn you of suspected scams. It also includes reverse-number searches and enhanced caller ID.
- Sprint: For $2.99 a month, you can subscribe to Premium Caller ID. Unlike Verizon and AT&T, Sprint’s paid protection only warns you when they suspect a spam call (as the name suggests). So it doesn’t offer the same automatic call blocking for spammers.
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile actually automatically notifies their users if a number is spam or a a scammer. Of course, they also offer Scam Block. Spam Block completely blocks these calls so you never see them, at no added cost. But if you want to see which spammers are calling you, you can use their added service Name ID for about $4 a month.
7. Avoid becoming part of the problem.
Now that spam calls are less of an issue for your business, feel free to breathe a sigh of relief. But it’s time to flip the script.
Could you be spamming your leads and customers?
Is there a chance you’re doing to your customers exactly what you’re trying to stop other businesses from doing to you? The best way to know is by better managing your database.
Your contact list or customer relationship management (CRM) likely includes contact info for both leads and customers, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails.
It should also include the option to opt these individuals into (or conversely out of) your promotions and messages. Thryv helps you stick to these permission settings by only automating promotions to those who are opted in. No manual checks. No spam from your business.