I currently have a policy that I will NOT answer unknown numbers. That is to say phone calls from numbers that I have never received a call from before as well as those calls from blocked phone numbers. The reason is that I have no way of verifying who is calling me nor that they are from the company they say they are from. For example:
You receive a call from an unknown phone number. (Lets say it is a spoofed Canberra phone number for this example).
You answer and hear that it is someone from the TAX office needing to verify some details from your tax returns from 5 years ago. (Like everyone keeps that on them at all times).
They might even have your full name and be talking to you like they have authority.
This is not positive verification. I have had scammers call me, using Canberra phone numbers, with authority using what personal details they had on me to try and prove they were legitimate. They even gave fake badge numbers and everything trying to prove to me that I owed money to the TAX office. However it was a scam call.
The way I handle phone calls is simple. If I know you, I will take your call or call you back. If I do not know you then the following will happen.
The caller leaves a message
This is the best option if you are trying to reach me. Leave a message telling me who you are and why you are calling. If you are:
- A personal contact
Personal contacts can leave their name and number and reason for their call.
- A professional contact
I receive a lot of calls from other professionals in my industry for advice. Leave your name, if we have met before you can also leave your number, as well as who you work for. I will do my best to get back in touch with you.
- A vendor / services contact
If you are a real person, leave a message with your name and who you work for. If we have done business before then I will have your phone number, if not then I will use the public listed number for your company to contact you. DO NOT BOTHER LEAVING A NUMBER IF WE HAVE NEVER MET BEFORE, I WILL NOT TRUST IT.
But why don’t you want to use my direct number, says every bank and services provider? Well it is simple, you could be a scammer.
I have no way of verifying that the number you provide has any relation to the company you are calling on behalf of. (Key words there, “on behalf of”). See if I need to sort something out with a company, I will sort it out with the company involved, not some call centre servicing multiple companies (which could result in a privacy breach).
If you are a company that uses a call centre services because outsourcing is “smarter”, please think twice. More and more people are adopting a policy similar to mine where we do not answer unknown callers.