Beep Beep, Hello: Robocalls and How to Stop Them

Robocalls and How to Stop Them

If you have a phone, you’ve likely received a robocall. Pre-recorded and automated, robocalls range from the genuinely helpful to the annoying and outright illegal.

Billions of robocalls are placed every year, and 2018 saw more robocalls than ever before with a 41% increase in the number of calls in the first half of the year alone. While no one has a problem with their local pharmacy letting them know a prescription is ready, the increasing number of illegal robocalls intending to defraud Americans has left many of us wondering: can these calls be stopped?

The FTC has taken steps to cut down on the frequency, with new rules that allow phone companies to block numbers that aren’t assigned to a real person. While these rules will help make enforcement against spam callers more effective, there are three easy things you can do to stop robocalls from targeting you:

One: Screen Callers

If you only get a few robocalls, this may be the best option. Illegitimate robocallers have a few tricks up their sleeves intended to make their numbers look trustworthy, such as neighbor spoofing — using a number that looks similar to a local one. By screening your calls, you can be sure the person calling you is legitimate!

If it isn’t a real number, you can block it — most smartphones have this option. If the calls are coming to a landline, talk to your provider and ask to block them.

Two: Get on the Do Not Call Registry (when the Federal government re-opens)

This is an option for anyone who is tired of annoying but legal robocalls, such as from companies you’ve given your information to. The DNC registry makes it illegal for you to be contacted when you don’t want to be, so you can file a complaint with the FTC if you do receive a call. Keep in mind, however, that certain organizations are exempt from the DNC registry, and illegitimate spammers and scammers are not stopped by it.

Three: Block Robocalls with Apps

Can’t avoid robocalls on your own? Bring out the heavy hitters and get some outside help!

There are apps and tools for both smartphones and landlines that will outright block known robocallers and suspicious numbers. Some providers, such as AT&T, have their own apps available — but for those seeking a bit of revenge, there is RoboKiller, which blocks robocalls coming to you and intercepts fraudsters to keep spammers and scammers on the line and waste their time. It’s one way to give them a taste of their own medicine.

February 4, 2019
Author: Paul DiGiorgio
Counsel, Wage and Hour
Practice Area Center: Consumer Fraud
Practice Area Category: Telephone Fraud