We all receive phone calls from unusual numbers, sometimes multiple times per day. Often they come from telltale 800 or 888 numbers, but there are also myriad out of town area codes. Is it your old college buddy Bill from Charlotte who just got a new phone or a robotic voice offering you a discount on mattresses?
It often feels like more of a hassle these days to answer your phone than it is letting it go to voicemail or risking missing an important call. Yet the temptation to answer can be strong, especially if you’re in a situation, business or otherwise where you could be expecting a call from a number you don’t recognize.
Here are five types of calls where it pays to know where the number is calling from and whom it belongs to before you pick up.
The ex with the new number
You’ve done your best to block contact with your unstable ex, filtered his emails and blocked his number (or changed his name in your address book to DO NOT ANSWER). But exes can be persistent and if they sniff out that they’re being ignored, calling from an unknown number to get you to answer is often an effective tactic.
The debt collector looking for your number’s previous owner
“Hi, is this Maya?” These types of calls often come in spurts and are extremely annoying to field, usually the result of the person who last had your number not keeping up with their bills.
The irrelevant sales call
Bad news: the used car dealership sold your information to a hundred other vendors and now they’re all calling you to offer everything from driveway repairs to gutter cleanings. In addition to being annoying, they’re irrelevant because you live in an apartment building.
The time consuming survey
Surveys can often be sales calls in disguise. In any case you probably have better things to do than answer a bunch of random questions for a total stranger over the phone.
The scam artist
Most worryingly of all, unknown incoming calls can also be from scammers trying to talk their way into your wallet. A recent scam affecting the Pittsburgh area involved con artists impersonating IRS agents trying to collect on phony back taxes.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons to avoid answering your phone right away these days. Take precautions to know who is calling you before you jump on the phone with them and save yourself a potential headache.
What’s the one phone call you wish you didn’t answer? Let us know in the comments.