CONSUMER FILE

Robocalls really are getting worse. Here are 6 ways to fight back.

May 31, 2018, 5:29 PM | Updated: 9:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — More and more complaints are rolling into the KSL Newsroom about pre-recorded robocalls. The aggravating calls often come from an automated voice trying to sell you stuff, rip you off or steal your identity.

Not only are robocalls not going away, they’re on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission received 3.4 million complaints about robocalls in 2016. Last year those complaints skyrocketed to 4.5 million.

“Very annoying,” said Kristen Johnson who gets several robocalls a week. “They’re coming from area code numbers that my phone is from. My own area code, so I think it’s someone I know.”

Jonathan Webb said he is now getting several robocalls a day, “So annoying that I have stopped answering my phone.”

“What really gets me is when they try to act like they’re a [real] person now,” Jared Stillman said. “I’ve gotten the one lately where the lady drops her phone and picks it back up to make it appear like there’s a real person on the other end.”

While robocalls may be getting worse and trickier, you can fight back.

BLOCK RECURRING CALLS ON YOUR PHONE

Start by setting up your smartphone to block a specific number.

On your iPhone, open the phone app, tap “recents” and then tap the info icon to the right of the number you want to block.

On an Android, click the “recents” tab in the phone app, click “details” and select “block/report spam.”

While that will stop robocalls from a specific number, it’s far from a perfect solution, since the numbers almost constantly change.

USE YOUR PHONE’S DO NOT DISTURB

If you’re being inundated with robocalls, you can use your phone’s Do Not Disturb mode. It will block EVERY number, except ones you choose to allow from your contacts so you don’t miss those calls from mom. All other calls will go to voicemail.

 

USE CALL BLOCKING APPS

You can also try one of several free third-party apps like Hiya and Mister Number. Both block calls and texts from suspected robocallers.

For $3 a month, you can take it a step further with RoboKiller. It blocks calls and texts from suspected robocall phone numbers but it will also waste the time of the occasional live telemarketer by tricking them with its often humorous recordings.

USE VIRTUAL PHONE NUMBER

“I don’t even know how they’re getting my information,” said Kristen Johnson. “Is it online?”

The answer is yes.

Robocallers scour databases and public records for numbers. You can keep yours off those lists by only giving out a virtual number from a service like Google Voice.

DON’T ANSWER

Another option is to simply not answer a call from a number you don’t know.

“I’m the type of person that will leave a voicemail for someone so I figure most people do the same thing,” said Laurel Delagerheim. “If it’s really important, they’ll leave me a voicemail or send me an email later.”

DON’T LET THE CALLERS KNOW YOU’RE REAL

The reality is there is currently no one solution that will get rid of all robocalls. So if you happen to answer one, here is something you should definitely do: hang up right away.

Speaking or pressing a button tells the robocaller, “Hey, this number is good!” And for you, that will mean more robocalls.

 

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Robocalls really are getting worse. Here are 6 ways to fight back.