RING, RING — IT’S A ROBOT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM PHONE SCAMS AND ROBOCALLS
Two of the most common scams are phone scams and robocalls. These calls are incredibly annoying and can trick you out of valuable information if you’re not careful. While it might seem like these scams are inescapable, there are some precautions you can take to avoid their traps. GIVE THEM THE SILENT TREATMENT. One thing you can do to avoid these fraudulent, time-wasting calls is to simply hang up. If possible, it is best to not answer at all. It’s always good to have a list of numbers you can reference, so you never have to guess who is calling. Think of it as going one step beyond caller ID. In some cases, answering and then hanging up can actually do more harm than good. Answering the phone gives the scammers confirmation that
the number works and that they should try again. Once your number is confirmed as active, it often gets put on an “active number” list that can then be sold to other scammers who market in these types of phone numbers. If you can’t verify who is calling without picking up, don’t answer. Let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the person will leave a legitimate message and you can respond afterward. PUT UP SOME DETERRENTS. You can even go a step further and block the calls. Many phone service providers offer call- blocking options, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You can sign up for this service in-store or on your service provider’s website. Each service costs about $4 per month. There are also a number of call-blocking apps available on Though I love all my clients, there’s a special place in my heart for Smoke Stacks. First, the company was founded by my former brother-in-law, Kurt Soens. Second, it’s one of my longest-standing clients. We’ve been working together since 2006, when Kurt first came to me because he was having trouble with his accountant. Since then, I’ve been doing Smoke Stacks’ accounting, payroll, and annual tax return. I think the company deserves recognition for its excellent work. Kurt recently sold the business to his longtime, loyal employees, Eric Yanasak and Jeremy Abrahamson, but he is continuing to work in the business for the foreseeable future to make sure there is a smooth transition and help Eric and Jeremy keep the business growing. If you have a fireplace in your house but are unfamiliar with Smoke Stacks, it’s time you got acquainted. The company is headquartered in Butler, Wisconsin, but services both Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, an area that encompasses more than 20 cities. Its specialties include chimney inspections, sweeping, and repair (including water
Android and Apple devices, but if you subscribe to a blocking service through your phone provider, these apps are unnecessary. Finally, you can sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call” program (DoNotCall. gov). While the Do Not Call program can help cut back on calls, this list is largely ignored by scammers. If you’re getting a ridiculous number of robocalls every day, signing up can offer you some brief respite. Thankfully, Congress is already attempting to fix this problem by making it harder for scammers to call you. But until they are able to pass tough, effective legislation, it is up to us as consumers to remain vigilant and do what we can to keep our personal and financial data safe and secure. leaks); fireplace repair; and decorative masonry service. Smoke Stacks is certified and has top ratings from the Better Business Bureau (A+) and reviews on Angie’s List make it a contractor you can trust. Meet One of My Oldest Clients Apart from top-notch work, Smoke Stacks’ priorities include attention to detail, professionalism, courteous service, and honest pricing. Maybe part of why we get along so well is that I also strive for those qualities at Francetic Tax Resolution. “Kurt did an excellent job cleaning our chimney. He also saved me some money by showing me how I could fix my air intake vent, which I did, and it turned out great. Thanks for the excellent service Kurt,” raved one reviewer on Angie’s List. Another wrote, “Kurt was very professional and prompt. He works to make sure you are satisfied with your job and provides very high-quality work. Very nice person too!” I couldn’t agree more. Smoke Stacks, thank you for 13 excellent years. I look forward to many more to come!
CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: SMOKE STACKS
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