Robocalls and spam phone calls have become epidemics among smartphone users. More than 50 billion robocalls were made in the United States, about 150 per person. Compared to previous years, this is a huge increase.
The main reasons behind the surge in robocalls include advancements in autodialing technology. These advancements make it easy and cheap for scammers to make millions of calls per day. In addition, scammers can spoof legitimate phone numbers to trick unsuspecting recipients into answering. Spoofing allows scammers to disguise their true originating number and instead display a local number or a number from a recognizable business or government agency on the recipient’s caller ID.
This has led to a proliferation of illegal and unsolicited robocalls trying to scam users out of money or personal information. Common robocall scams include Social Security Administration imposter calls about supposed suspended benefits, Amazon calls about unauthorized purchases on your account, extended car warranty calls, calls pretending to be the IRS threatening imminent arrest for tax evasion, and many others. Even with automatic spam call blocking enabled on smartphones, many of these unwanted calls still get through.
Dangers of answering unknown calls
Smartphone users face risks whenever they answer an unknown number due to the sheer volume of robocalls and scam calls. You could be phoning a fraudster to steal your identity or money. Even picking up seemingly legitimate business calls you’re expecting is dangerous, as scammers use spoofing to impersonate banks, credit card companies, shipping companies, and other organizations you trust. This “answer and find out” approach effectively gives scammers direct phone access to millions of consumers they try to fool or intimidate. And falling for phone scams results in major financial losses or identity theft that take months or years to recover from.
How reverse phone lookups help?
Luckily, there are tools available to empower smartphone users and help them determine who is calling before ever answering. This is where free reverse phone lookups come in – who called me services that allow you to search for information on an unknown caller’s number and unmask potential scammers. Reverse phone lookups unlock critical context about incoming calls:
- Location – See what city, state, and sometimes full address a number is registered to. This reveals numbers registered far from you that are likely scammers spoofing local numbers.
- Business/Residence – Check if a number is tied to a business or residential address. Scammers often use residential numbers.
- Past Reports – See if others have reported a number as fraudulent or spam. Numbers flagged by multiple users are at higher risk.
- Carrier Records – Identify the phone carrier associated with a number for additional context.
- Name Search – For cell numbers, you look up the owner’s full name to spot spoofed business numbers.
Using reverse lookups only takes seconds before answering, but gives you an invaluable extra layer of protection and information to evaluate if an unknown caller seems legitimate or suspicious.
The author, Dr. David K Simson is a trained radiation oncologist specializing in advanced radiation techniques such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) / Rapid Arc, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). He is also experienced in interstitial, intracavitary, and intraluminal brachytherapy.