Have you ever answered the phone to find no one on the other end and wondered: What are they trying to sell me if they aren't speaking?
According to experts, these kinds of calls are step one in a phone fraud scheme that could lead to your identity being stolen and/or your bank account drained. The silence on the other end of the phone is actually a computer gathering information about you -- yes, just from your answering "Hello." A mere cough will signal to the computer that the 10 digits it just dialed is an active line, answered by humans.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, these kinds of calls are on the rise. "[Robocalling] is the No. 1 consumer complaint that we receive," FTC attorney Patty Hsue told NPR. On average, the FTC gets about 170,000 complaints a month related to robocalls.