Tired of Robocalls? Stop Answering Your Phone

Tired of Robocalls? Stop Answering Your Phone

Two robots playing telephone with tin cans.
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The robocall problem keeps getting worse. Nearly half of all calls come from automated systems, and that number is increasing. Tired of answering your phone and talking to robots, scammers, or scammer robots? Just stop answering.


Yes, the FCC is trying to end robocalls by encouraging adoption of solutions like STIR/SHAKEN. But, while the government and phone carriers slowly put together a solution, we’re stuck in robocall hell.


The Case for Ignoring Your Phone


If the idea of ignoring your phone sends you into a fit of cognitive dissonance, then congratulations, you’re a well-adjusted human being and a perfect target for robocallers.


Phones have been around for well over 100 years, and we’ve spent that time developing a complex and universal system of phone etiquette. You answer a call with “hello,” you end a call with “goodbye,” and you politely spend the last three or four minutes of a call repeating “okay, yeah, right, uh-huh.”


But it’s the very first step of phone etiquette that robocallers use to take advantage of us. When you get a call, you answer it. Why? Well, according to Volume 5 of the American Telephone Journal—published in 1902—ignoring a phone call is rude and wastes “some seconds or minutes” of the caller’s “valuable time.”


If only we could bring those 20th-century knuckleheads into modern times, they would know how the tables have turned. Today, nearly half of the calls we receive are from robocallers. Answering the phone is actually a waste of your time.


An angry businessman throwing away his phone.
Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

Phone etiquette needs to evolve to accommodate modern times. Wasting “seconds or minutes” of a person’s time was just as annoying in 1902 as it is now. So if you get a call from a number that you don’t recognize, ignore it. You’re practicing proper phone etiquette.


You wouldn’t be the first person to start ignoring calls. As The Atlantic put it, “telephone culture is disappearing.”


Are we oversimplifying things? Maybe. But consider this: Ignoring robocalls reduces the number of robocalls you receive, other anti-robocall methods don’t work at all, and there are plenty of ways to ensure that you don’t miss important calls from friends, family, or trusted businesses.


Yes, Ignoring Robocalls Leads to Fewer Robocalls


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