Why do robocalls hang up? Don't answer!

Who I am
Bernard Perron
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You may have seen a random number calling your phone, and if you're a fast person, rushing is your first instinct. You answer, but he hangs up within seconds. These ghost callers are likely robocalls, and they dial many numbers a day, calling thousands of people just like you.

Why do robocalls hang up? They're not real people, and they're just hitting numbers. Read on to find out why bots hang up on you.

What is an automated call?

A robocall is an automated computer that plays pre-recorded messages to you. They serve many purposes; some of them are perfectly legal and beneficial, while others are scams.

Today, robocalls can mimic real human speech vividly and fluently. Some are so realistic that you might not detect the automation until you think about it. As such, you should be careful of any random number calling you.

Robocalls dial hundreds or even thousands of calls every day. They do this by automatically dialing numbers from a randomly generated list. They can tell a number is active if they hear you talking or even coughing.

To distinguish a robocall from a real human caller, you can look for these signs:

  • The caller tends to stick to a script much more stubbornly than humans.
  • You do not receive answers to your questions.
  • Their voice is always a neutral or helpful tone.
  • The caller is trying to get your details no matter what.
  • You are told to act right away, no questions asked.
  • The voice cannot tell you explicitly why it is calling you or why you need to do something.
  • The caller will make ridiculous claims for money and offers.

Some robocalls help you in different ways, such as reminding you to get a prescription from a pharmacy, or they may be political bots. These are legal and do not require your permission.

Other robocalls that don't require permission and are perfectly legal include:

  • Charities call for donations
  • IRS calls for updates on developments and changes
  • Schools and educational institutions call you to inform you of events

There are also other laws and strict legal requirements that robocalls must follow.

Why do robocalls hang up when I answer?

As mentioned earlier, robocalls dial many numbers daily. Their carriers use random phone number generators to create thousands of phone numbers to call. If the automated call hangs up, it has verified that your number is "active".

Companies or scammers who verify your number as "active" will start planning scams or selling your number to other companies. Since they only need to hear speech or even human sounds to verify a phone number, they immediately hang up to dial the next number on their list.

You may notice that after receiving robocalls that hang up, the frequency of fraudulent calls increases. The constant calls are caused by the people making the robocall or the companies that purchased your phone number trying to contact you.

Other times they will use your number to "spoof". Spoofing is pretending to be someone they are not. This is because the carriers behind the robocalls clone your phone and locations, which they can use for malicious purposes.

What happens when you answer a robocall?

Once you pick up the call, the robot starts recording. Most people tend to say "hello" or something along those lines, prompting the bot to read its script. These robots can understand human speech very well and respond based on what you say.

Some robocalls require you to perform actions by pressing numbers on your dial pad. They will record your choices and say the appropriate lines.

Automated calls that hang up after you answer may not call you back. However, other robocalls of this nature could be a source of irritation.

Even if you don't fall for robocalls trying to scam you, scammers will still consider your number a "good number" and sell it so other scammers can call you.

What should I do if I accidentally answer a robocall?

Regardless of the robocall, you should be careful and never give out your personal information to callers. Automated calls notice that if you talk more, they will consider you a good prospect. Once they know you're ready to talk to them, expect more scammers and bots to call you.

Here are some things you should do if you notice the caller is a bot:

Ending a call is the best solution. If you hang up immediately, the robocall may not mark you as "active". It's when you keep talking or making sounds that give a "thumbs up" to callers on the other end of the line. The earlier you opt out, the better your chances of avoiding further robocalls.

  • Don't say anything about your personal information.

If a robocall asks for your credit card information, legitimate calls only ask for the last four digits. If an automated call asks you to provide additional information, you should hang up immediately. Privacy is your right, and legitimate callers will respect your right to withhold personal information.

  • Do not press any key on your numeric keypad.

An old robo-calling trick asks you to press one of your dial pad to unsubscribe or speak to live reps, which has the opposite effect. Instead, robocall operators will mark you as a prime target. Whenever a suspicious robocall asks you to perform instructions, never follow them.

Some auto-callers ask if you can hear them, and most people will answer "yes." This trick can lead to record abuse, where criminals use snippets of your recorded "consent" to commit fraud and identity theft. If they ask you questions, you can answer them.

Since robocallers don't know how to answer trivial questions, you'll see right away that this is a scam. End the call and don't say a word to protect your number.

  • Have your number added to the "Do Not Call List".

If you live in a country with a "Do Not Call List", registering your number can reduce unwanted calls. It's not 100% effective, but it can lead to stiff fines if the government takes action against the culprits.

  • Block the number afterwards.

After hanging up, you should block the caller in case they call you back. You can block calls as a standard feature on your phone, but some apps can even alert you to incoming robocalls. These apps are available on Android and iOS.

Why are more spam robocalls coming from a local number?

Scammers and robocallers have access to many phone numbers, and identity theft is a piece of cake for them. Once a scammer finds your area code, they can disguise themselves and pretend they are local to your area. This is why unwanted callers who have access to your number may appear locally.

Carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to verify if a phone number is legitimate. Although applications and software solutions exist, they are not infallible.

The next time you answer a call from a local number, but it doesn't seem natural, know that robocallers have access to your phone number. Robocalls from local numbers are a little harder to avoid, but some paid solutions can help.

Do not call me

Ultimately, robocalls that immediately hang up are a sign that a fraudulent company or scammer has their sights set on you. As long as you take precautions, you are more likely to escape constant stalking. Although there are no solutions to fix the problem permanently, there are steps you can take to stay safe.

What do you use to prevent spam robocalls? Let us know in the comments section below.

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