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What Do I Do if I Answer a Spam Call?

Written by, Andriana Moskovska

Updated September, 7, 2022

Phone spam calls are becoming increasingly common. Not only are they annoying, but also a good percentage of them are actually phone call scams, which can be difficult to detect. 

If you’re wondering ‘what do I do if I answer a spam call?’ you’re not alone. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at how spam calls work, how to avoid them, and what to do if you answer them, as well as how to detect scam calls and keep them at a minimum.

What Is a Spam Call and How Do Spam Calls Work? 

Spam phone calls are unsolicited calls made by a company or a business, usually in bulk, to market a product or a service.

In most situations, these live agents that call you are hoping to sell legitimate services and products. However, if they occur without any prior request or consent, they’re considered spam. 

Another example of spam calls are robocalls, which are pre-recorded voice messages with the same goal of making a sale.

However, not all spam calls come from legitimate businesses. Scammers often take advantage of this type of marketing and use it to try and trick people on the receiving end of the call.

Scammers usually try to get individuals to give away personal information, like their social security number or credit card number, or try to get them to install malicious software on their computers. 

If there’s a robocaller on the other side of the line that was set up by a spammer, that usually means that they’re trying to confirm if your number is real. If you interact with the voice or press a button, it will let the spammers know that there’s a person on the other side, and they can sell your number to another company or use it to target you frequently.

Common types of phone scams

  • Bank scams

In this type of phone scam, scammers mimic bank representatives and claim that there’s a problem with your account or your card. The caller typically attempts to persuade you that your card has been cloned or that your savings are at risk to get you to give away any information that can help them get into your account.

They may ask for your account number and payment card information, including your PIN number, and even propose to send a courier to pick up your card. They could also suggest moving your funds to a “safe account” to safeguard them. 

  • Computer repair scams

Some scammers pose as helpdesk employees of a prominent IT firm, such as Microsoft, and tell victims that their computer has a virus. They’ll then advise you to download ‘anti-virus software,’ which is usually spyware that gathers personal information.

  • Compensation calls

If you receive a dubious phone call about a car accident, chances are you might be dealing with a scammer. They usually claim that you’re eligible for some type of compensation and ask for personal information.

  • HMRC scams

There are scammers that claim to be from HMRC. They’ll usually tell you that you have some unpaid tax bill or that there’s a problem with your tax refund and ask for bank account details or personal information.

  • Number spoofing

Scammers often succeed in tricking people into picking up their phones and falling for the scam by using a fake caller ID. This makes it appear as if the call comes from a legitimate company and increases the chances that the person will provide some sensitive information.

  • Pensions and investment scams

Scammers who deal with pension scams usually try to persuade people to release funds from their pension or transfer it. You might also receive a spam call about an “unmissable” investment opportunity.

  • ‘Anti-scam’ scams

There are scammers that pretend to work for organisations that help people who have been scammed. They often offer anti-fraud phone calls technology or ask you to renew your Telephone Preference Service registration.

The Difference Between Spam and Robocalls

The main difference between spam calls and robocalls is that the latter are not necessarily spam. If you’ve given a business or a company the consent to receive promotional calls, they might use robocalls to reach you. 

They’re only considered spam if you get frequent calls without your permission. 

What Do I Do if I Answer a Spam Call?

If you get a spam call, the best thing to do is to hang up immediately.  

Consumers in the UK are protected from direct marketing phone calls under privacy laws, and companies are not allowed to market their products to them by phone, text, email, or fax if they’ve explicitly opted out of it.

To prevent spammers from calling you in the future, you should register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), the UK’s official list of numbers that do not want to receive unsolicited sales. 

If you received a call from a legitimate company (and not a scam but a spam call), you can report the call to the Information Commissioner’s Office and block the number.

You can also report unwanted phone calls by sending the number in a text to 7726 (which spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad). The spam calls won’t stop right away, but it will give your carrier the chance to look into it. 

How to Avoid Phone Scams in the UK and Cold Calls

If you want to keep cold calls to a minimum, it’s best to avoid giving your phone number to companies and make sure that you have an option to opt-out of promotional phone calls or SMS messages. 

To avoid phone scams:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.
  • Don’t respond to suspicious Yes-No questions.
  • If someone calls you claiming to be from a certain company, hang up and call the company yourself. Always use the number that you can find on the company’s official website. 
  • Hang up the phone if you hear a recording saying, ‘Can you hear me?’
  • Hang up if a recording asks you to press a button on your phone.
  • Get a call blocker services that block fake calls. 

How Can I Report Scam Calls in the UK or Make a Complaint About a Spam Call?

Reporting a scam phone call is the best way to prevent the same scammers from targeting you again. 

You can report any call to the police if you believe that it came from a telephone scammer. Scammers usually ask for personal information and bank account details.

Keep in mind that a legitimate business will never ask for private information or your PIN number.

If their scam succeeds and you get hacked or lose money as a result, you can call 0300 123 2040 or go to www.actionfraud.police.uk.

How to Protect Yourself?

Many phone companies provide services that can help you avoid telephone scams and protect yourself from a potential fraud call, including:

  • Caller display 
  • Blocking incoming calls 
  • Rejecting anonymous calls 

Bottom Line 

If you’re asking yourself, ‘what do I do if I answer a spam call?’ the first thing to do is hang up. Whether you’re dealing with spam or scam, you can always report the number to the police, regardless of whether it’s a live agent or a robocall. 

However, they won’t be able to do much if you’ve agreed to receive marketing calls from a company, at least not until you opt-out and they start calling you again without your consent.

As a digital marketing specialist, I am well aware of how hard it can be to find credible sources online. Frustrated at the state of affairs, I created Don’t Disappoint Me. Now, together with my team of dedicated experts, we aim to bring you 100% reliable, unbiased and recent content on everything you could ever imagine. When I’m not working, you’ll catch me watching a documentary or two, rewatching LOTR for the 20th time, or going on walks with my two dogs, which take up most of my free time. But hey, who’s complaining?