Robocall or real call? Here’s how to tell in a few seconds.

Robocalls are on the rise, but consumers—and companies—are fighting back!

As Experian explains, a robocall is simply “a phone call that delivers a prerecorded message to the recipient.” Sounds harmless enough, but many are made by scammers, and nearly all of them waste your valuable time.

Robocalls have become a widespread nuisance, with over 50 billion calls made in 2021 alone. The best way to deal with robocalls is to ignore them, so we’ve put together a guide to show you how to spot those disruptive intrusions!

How to recognize robocalls instantly

Caller ID

Many service providers offer Caller ID, which is one of the fastest ways to tell who is calling you. Alas, we often take Caller ID for granted, especially if running a business.

Businesses don’t always know who is going to be calling, so an unfamiliar name or number isn’t necessarily a red flag. Still, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) writes, “Caller ID authentication technology…allows consumers and law enforcement alike to more readily identify the source of illegal robocalls and reduce their frequency and impact.”

Awkward pauses

One telltale sign of a robocall is a slight delay after you pick up. That’s the robocall system transferring the call to a live agent or preparing to play a recorded message.

However, sometimes, the pause is part of a common scam designed to trick you into saying the word “yes.”

“When you answer the phone, there might be some fumbling around on the other end of the line,” writes Lifehacker. “A person might say, ‘I’m having trouble with my headset.’ This is followed by a yes/no question like ‘can you hear me?’”

If you say yes, that scammer may sell your information to telemarketers, or they might repurpose it for an unauthorized phone purchase. So, if you suspect a robocall, don’t say anything else.

Scammy scripts

If the caller’s voice sounds monotone, unnatural, or overly polished, trust your gut—it’s probably a robocall. Robocalls tend to sound scripted because, well, they are!

A common tactic is to make them sound like they’re calling you back or that there’s something urgent you must respond to. Don’t fall for these manipulative tricks.

Identifying robocall red flags

Standardized automated greetings

Standardized greetings like “Hello, this is a courtesy call…” are par for the course when it comes to robocalls.

Sometimes, genuine automated calls also use this format, though. Thus, a standardized greeting isn’t a dead giveaway 100% of the time—but it is a red flag, so proceed with caution.

If it’s a call from your bank, medical provider, or some other professional organization you deal with, it may be wise to confirm authenticity by looking up their number and calling them directly.

Pushy pitches

Robocallers can get pushy fast because they know they don’t have much time before the average person hangs up on them.

They don’t care about phone etiquette or building a rapport. For them, it’s just a numbers game. So if you pick up and hear an aggressive sales pitch or sudden request for personal information, it’s probably best to end that call.

Clumsy communication

Robocalls are getting more sophisticated, but many are still terrible when it comes to things like proper pronunciation or even communicating a clear message. You might also hear repetitions or excessive pauses.

If the caller sounds like they have no clue what they’re saying, it’s probably because you’re dealing with a crude robocall.

Using call screening tools and apps

Call-blocker apps and services

Handy call-blocking apps and services are getting better at recognizing and filtering out vexing robocalls. A few of the most popular include Truecaller, YouMail, RingCentral, Robokiller, and Nomorobo.

These services can certainly be worth the affordable investment as they work diligently to cross-reference and block known spam lists, saving you time and trouble!

Built-in call screening

Many smartphones have built-in call screening features, but you have to take time to activate them! These tools can alert you to potential spam or, depending on how you set things up, they can block certain calls automatically.

Spend a few minutes digging into your phone’s settings to get started. If needed, run an internet search on how to do this on your particular device.


Depending on the type of business you’re in, you might consider “whitelisting”—adding your frequent callers to your list of contacts (with a note by their name to indicate if they are a customer, client, vendor, or something else), then only allowing calls from these contacts. This can be especially helpful if you have callers from outside your local area code.

It’s a stringent method, but if you’re truly plagued with unwanted calls, then only letting calls from known numbers might be your last option.

Use Ruby to block robocalls and minimize interruptions!

One of the major benefits of using a virtual receptionist service like Ruby’s is we screen your calls for you!

Along with our flexible, affordable virtual receptionist packages, we offer effective screening and blocking via our robocall filtering system, which utilizes live network data and advanced AI to deal with your troublesome robocalls.

The result? Fewer distractions, less risk, and more time to focus on growing your business. Reach out today to learn more about robocall filtering technology and other ways we help small businesses win back the workday!