RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When it comes to scammers, they’re often in constant search of their next victim, always looking for someone who’s vulnerable.

That is an essential part of their game.

Ever wonder how you seem to be the target for robocalls and phishing scams?

It’s because scammers keep track of who is likely to fall for their schemes.

Criminals will share information with other scammers who are looking to take advantage of people.

It’s hard to estimate the number of scams that are out there, but many of them pre-date the internet. To update them, criminals use current events to hook you in.

“This is an old ploy that’s been going on for decades,” said cybersecurity expert Joel Hollenbeck of Check Point Software Technologies. “It’s nothing new.”

Whether it’s a robocall phishing for information or a fake Ukrainian war victim charity, scammers are watching closely to see who falls for it.

“Once you respond to this type of email, the threat actors then know someone is live on the other side of it,” said Hollenbeck.

These scammers may be anonymous to us, but they don’t act alone or work in a vacuum. They have their own so-called “suckers lists.”

“Ransomware groups are loosely affiliated,” said Hollenbeck. “People move from group to group and will take information like that with them.”

These criminals are patient and will bide their time waiting for the right moment to strike again.

“It may be scams that come from different email addresses months or years down the road,” said Hollenbeck.

Your best defense: let voicemail pick up those phone calls and don’t respond to emails or offerings that come your way by email or social media. Just delete them.

Hollenbeck said everyone needs to be extremely cynical about all emails they receive.

You should also never try to engage a robocall scammer thinking, “I’ll teach them to mess with me.” All that does is open you up to more scam calls.

As tempting as it may be to tell off a scammer, it’s best to ignore the call entirely and delete the number after it goes to voicemail.