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Americans filed 5 million complaints about telemarketing and scam calls

Even if your phone number is listed on the Do Not Call Registry, it doesn't stop scammers from calling you.

244 million Americans who have signed up their numbers for the National Do Not Call Registry are still getting an awful lot of unwanted phone calls. During the fiscal year ending October 2021, Americans filled 5 million complaints about undesired calls.

If you've already added your phone number to the Registry and are still getting a lot of calls, most probably they are from scammers. Law-abiding entities wouldn't dial your phone number, but malicious actors ignore the rules.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 68% of the reported calls were robocalls (If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall). Another 22% were live calls.

People mostly complained about the imposters, including scammers pretending to be the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has been a popular scammers’ target this year. In October, CyberNews wrote that scammers are impersonating the IRS and sending fake emails saying that you can get a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP).

This holiday season scammers are in love with phone scams. Scammers are not only calling their victims themselves but also trying to trick people into calling them. Anyone with an email address, whether they shop online or not, could receive a fake order confirmation that impersonates a retail company (e.g., Amazon, PayPal, Walmart). These emails, which instruct the recipient to call a phone number if they want to dispute a charge or resolve a fake issue, are structured around a phony order, often for an expensive item.

Because most of these attacks emanate from free-mail services (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud), which have high sender reputations, they can pass email authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC).

Phishing emails are designed in a way that threatens financial loss - if you don’t cancel this order, your credit card will be charged. They also add a sense of urgency to call and cancel the order, and that’s why a victim’s eye may not catch the details pointing to fraud.

Social engineering is an emotional game. Criminals manipulate our perceptions and feelings to trick us into doing something for their benefit. They are trying to disturb our thinking process - the OODA loop. OODA is a model for decision-making and stands for observing, orienting, deciding, and acting.

When scammers call you or send you an email, they always want you to take immediate action. You will not hear them say, 'reply whenever it's convenient to you' or 'at your earliest convenience.'

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