Robocalls spiked during the pandemic last year, and scammers made off with a shocking $19.7 billion from scam calls in 2020. They used COVID-19 to deceive people in texts and phone calls, using treatments, financial relief, free testing and the like as their bait.
Even if you haven’t been scammed, these calls are nonetheless annoying. So here are a handful of ways to curb the incoming phone garbage:
* Use a call rejection service. Dial *77 and wait to hear three beeps before hanging up. Now any call that hides its number will be rejected. Be aware that some carriers do charge for the service.
* Check your carrier for services that help block calls. They might have a small monthly fee, but it could be worth it.
* Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. When you add your name to the list, you are taken off the for-profit call list and telemarketers supposedly can’t call you. Of course, scammers don’t follow the law, but this should still cut down somewhat on the number of unwanted calls.
* Seek revenge. Peaceful revenge, of course. A new app called Robo Revenge, aka Do Not Pay, automatically registers your phone number on a Do Not Call list and gives scammers a fake credit card number. It also sends a dispute letter on your behalf demanding compensation. The company’s website also advertises help fighting parking tickets, canceling free trials, copyright protection and more.
Your passwords and your mother
Two things you should do regularly: Call your mom and reset your passwords.
And if you use Slack, youíll probably want to take care of the latter before the former.
For some reason, Slackís mobile Android application was storing usernames and passwords for some users in plain text instead of them being encrypted — a major security breach. If your phone was hacked, cybercriminals could easily read your login info.
Slack discovered the problem in January and soon blocked usage from Android devices until Android users changed their passwords. Users are also encouraged to clear any Slack data from their devices, which can be done by going to the app, tapping on Storage, and then selecting Clear Data or Storage.