How do you prevent robot phone calls?

In the first 2 months of 2022, the Fraud Helpdesk received over 2500 reports of suspicious phone calls from an English-speaking source. Maybe you got one too. An unknown mobile number calls. You pick up, because it may be a potential client. But the voice on the other side of the line sounds tinny and robotic. It tells you you need to do something and talks about 'the police' and the 'Dutch supreme court'. You do not have time for this, naturally. How do you prevent robot calls?

Disconnect and block

“Unfortunately, you cannot see whether or not a call is a robot phone call before you pick up”, says Consumentenbond (Dutch consumer board) spokesperson Gerard Spierenburg. So there is no way to prevent receiving the calls. “The best thing you can do when you receive a robocall is disconnect immediately. And then block that specific phone number. I am afraid there is not a lot else you can do against robot phone calls." According to the Fraud Helpdesk, the fraudsters managed to steal over €300,000 in the first 2 months of 2022.


What are robot phone calls, or robocalls (in Dutch)? “They are fraudsters who call you and want to make you believe you are in trouble. They pretend they want to help you, but will steal your money if you let them. For example, they will tell you you have to pay a fine, or they ask for your bank login details to plunder your account. They probably use a robotic voice so they can remain anonymous themselves, or because their English is too poor." As long as you disconnect and do not reply to the questions the robot voice asks you, you are safe.

Here is what you can do

Disconnect the call straightaway, and block the number in your phone. Spierenburg also advises:

  • Watch out: fraudsters sometimes use the phone number of a company you do business with. It is called spoofing. So before you block a phone number, make sure it is not the number of a business relation, like yourbank. Warn your relation if fraudsters are using their number.
  • Never pass on login details for your email or other accounts on the phone.
  • Did you miss a call from an unknown foreign phone number (in Dutch)? Do not return the call. It may be from a fraudster, who wants you to dial an expensive paid number.


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