Spam Calls & Scam Calls What is the Difference

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

While all spam and scam calls are unpleasant, knowing how they differ is essential so you can better protect yourself. Read on to learn more about them.

At CPR Call Blocker, we make protecting you from telemarketers, and spam calls our mission because—many people associate scams with trouble. To help ensure you don't fall victim to scams or spam callers, here are some tactics common for such entities.

For example, what are spam phone numbers? How do you spot a scam call from a reputable company? What should you do if a call comes in on your phone line or is texted to one of your clients' phones? Understanding the difference between a spam call and a scam call could save you from falling for fraud.

What are Spam Calls?

Spam calls are often made by companies that use automatic dialing systems to call multiple people. These interruptions can be highly annoying and disruptive for the recipients of such calls.

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

Spam calls are similar to spam emails—they're unwanted and unsolicited. Most of the time, they target large groups of people without their permission first. Here are some examples of spam calls:

1. Telemarketer

Telemarketers call us with a specific objective, such as persuading us to make a purchase or asking for a donation. This type of selling is known as telemarketing. Businesses occasionally refer to it by other names—"telesales" or "inside sales"—but regardless of the terminology used, there's no denying that many people find these calls annoying and intrusive—they generally consider this form of advertising intrusive and unwelcome.

The same goes for your favorite yoga studio calling to offer you a discount if you sign up for a new class or the local office supply store where you shop calling to ask if you'd like to order another case of paper. The offices of a company with fewer than 10 employees or a "call bank," a company specializing in telemarketing, may be used by telemarketers to place their calls.

2. Political

During an election, you may receive calls relating to the election—for example, information or polling calls and requests for donations. Political calls are often placed by campaigns or organizations, such as the Democratic National Committee or the Republican Party.

They may also be placed by independent groups (such as an organization supporting a candidate) or politicians themselves.

3. Non-Profit

Charitable organizations may call you asking for donations or to volunteer your time and services—or they may provide information about their cause and how it relates to your interests.

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

4. Robocaller

A robocall is a phone call from an autodialer, software programmed to make repeated calls and deliver the same message no matter who answers. Robocalls commonly provide appointment reminders, public-service announcements, and crisis communication updates.

5. Debt Collector

A collection call is a phone call in which someone tries to pressure the person receiving the call into paying a debt or making some other form of compensation for goods and services that were not delivered.

What are Scam Calls?

Scam calls are those made with malicious intentions, such as the attempts of a person or business to deceive you into sending money or sensitive information.

Scam calls happen when scammers trick someone into believing they have won a prize or made an expensive purchase by calling them out of the blue. They often tell false promises and lies about what is supposed to happen next after giving out their credit card information or bank account information over the phone.

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

Scam artists often demand payment for deeds the victims haven't committed or services they haven't requested, such as jury duty missed or installments on an unpaid debt like back taxes.

What steps can you take to get around a scammer who has slipped through security filters and made it past your automated systems?

If you're worried about spoiled milk, check the expiration date. Smell and taste a small amount if you feel like it's necessary. You can use the same techniques to spot a scam phone number that you would use with spoiled milk: ask yourself whether something is correct or seems unusual.

If you answer a call and the phone number seems unfamiliar, you are likely being scammed.

  • The caller is unable to communicate.
  • The greeting is delayed or generic.
  • The caller claims a problem with an unidentified bank or another account.
  • The conversation turns heated.
  • You are required to provide personal or business information to identify yourself.
  • The caller warns of extreme circumstances.
  • You are being threatened.
  • To take advantage of a deal, you must move quickly.

Because of their speed and ubiquity, scam calls are tough to detect. Also, scammers use algorithms that make the origin of their calls appear local, even if they're made from across the country. With billions of scam victims every year, there are enough people to fund the cost of annoying calls made by scammers.

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

Scams come in a variety of forms, so be on the lookout for these:

1. Bank Phone Scams

This is a scam where someone calls you and says your bank account has been compromised. They ask for your personal information to verify it over the phone, but instead of proving it, they use that information to steal from you. It's important to remember that banks will never call or email you about security issues—they will always send them via snail mail.

2. Investment Phone Scams

Scammers get people to send them money by telling them that they'll receive a significant return on their investment. They call investors, often saying they are from the government and will put part of your family in jail if you don't pay up.

3. Home-Buying Scam Calls

Home-buying phone scams are plentiful, but one of the most common involves hackers infiltrating an email chain between a lawyer and their client.

4. Pension Scams

Pension scams are rising, and you might be a victim even if you don't receive pension payments. Scammers will often call those who accept pension payments, asking for personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers so they can deposit your money into an account.

5. Fake Charity Calls

Fake charity calls are common and often come in the form of phone calls. Scammers use fake names and stories to convince people to give money or personal information.


There is a difference between spam calls and scam calls. Just as there's a difference between unwanted emails (spam) and phishing attempts, which try to steal your money or personal information—these two types of communication are entirely different despite how alike they may seem at first glance.

Scam calls are a common tactic criminals use to rob people of their money. Learn about the most common phone scams and how to stay safe—don't share sensitive information with anyone you don't know or trust. Never give out your personal or financial information, including bank account numbers and PINs, over the phone—even if a caller claims to be an authority figure such as a police officer.

Spam Calls & Scam Calls: What is the Difference?

If you have a landline phone, you might want to consider getting a call blocker. Our call blockers are meant to keep you and your family safe from unwanted phone calls and give you peace of mind at home. Browse our products or get in touch with us to help you.