Whether it’s a helpful announcement from your child’s school or an appointment reminder from a doctor’s office, getting robocalls has become an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, robocalls are also used by criminals to collect consumers’ personal and financial information and/or conduct various scams.
The good news is that consumers have won additional protections against unwanted robocalls under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. One of the main goals of the law is to make it easier for consumers to avoid unwanted robocalls by:
- Requiring all carriers to implement caller-ID technology at no additional cost to consumers
- Making it easier for law enforcement to prosecute illegal robocallers and increasing penalties for robocall violations
- Creating an interagency task force to study and improve government prosecution of robocall violations
Even when these new protections are implemented, it will take some time to eliminate unwanted robocalls. In the meantime, here are
some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Don’t answer calls when you don’t recognize the phone number.
- If you pick up an unwanted robocall, hang up right away and avoid answering “yes” or “no” questions, providing personal information, or pressing a number to “opt out.”
- Consider signing up for a robocall blocking service. Many phone service providers now offer robocall blocking solutions at no additional charge, or you can download additional robocall protection through a third-party app.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, which removes your number from the call lists used
by legitimate telemarketing companies. Keep in mind that registering with the DNC Registry will result in your getting fewer calls from legitimate telemarketers, but it won’t stop illegal robocallers from contacting you.
How can I avoid becoming a victim of a social engineering scam?
Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or perhaps you get an enticing text message claiming that you’ve won a free vacation to the destination of your choice — all you have to do is click on a link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link can accidentally result in revealing your sensitive personal and financial information to a cybercriminal.
In a social engineering scam, a cybercriminal psychologically manipulates victims into divulging sensitive information. Cybercriminals “engineer” believable scenarios designed to evoke an emotional response (curiosity, fear, empathy, or excitement) from their victims. As a result, people often react without thinking first due to curiosity or concern about the message that was sent. Since social engineering scams appear in many forms and appeal to a variety of emotions, they can be especially difficult to identify.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from a social engineering scam:
- If you receive a message conveying a sense of urgency, slow down and read it carefully before reacting. Don’t click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails, text messages, and instant messaging services.
- Never download email attachments unless you can verify that the sender is legitimate. Similarly, don’t send money to an email that requests charitable help unless you can follow up directly with the organization.
- Be wary of unsolicited messages. If you get an email or a text that asks you for financial information or passwords, do not reply, delete it.
- Remember that social engineering scams can also be used over the phone. Use healthy skepticism when you receive phone calls that demand money or request sensitive personal and financial information.
Representatives are registered through, and securities are sold through Nationwide Planning Associates, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, located at 115 West Century Road, Suite 360, Paramus, NJ 07652. Investment advisory services are offered through NPA Asset Management, LLC. Insurance sold through licensed NPA Insurance Agency, Inc. agents. Nationwide Planning Associates, Inc. and Frankly Financial are non-affiliated entities.
This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of CO, CT, FL, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA and RI. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.
Prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions Copyright 2020.