Robocalls are quite simply the most annoying modern tech drawback for many people. You know what they are. These are the unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls to landlines and wireless phones that seem to strike at the most inconvenient times.
Telemarketing calls are certainly nothing new, annoying us for decades but now. Aside from trying to sell you stuff, robocalls can be downright deceptive and malicious. Robocall scams are actually trying to rip you off or steal your identity.
This is why the rising number of robocall complaints is alarming. It's a plague that the world can do without. But is relief in sight? If anything, the robocall problem is just getting worse each year.
Robocall plague is worse than ever
According to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, robocall complaints have increased significantly in 2017 and have actually quintupled since 2009.
That means the U.S. robocall plague has grown by five times in just eight years and it's getting worse!
The new report reveals that the agency has received over 375,000 complaints about automated robocalls each month in 2017 compared to just 63,000 per month in 2009.
That adds up to a total of 4.5 million robocall complaints received in 2017. In addition to the automated calls, 2.5 million complaints about live telemarketing calls were also filed last year.
Compare that to 2016 figures that show about 3.4 million robocalls and 1.8 million live telemarketing calls complaints and the jump is quite staggering.
Most notorious robocalls in 2017:
According to the FTC report, here are the top six spam call types reported by consumers:
- Reducing your debt (credit cards, mortgage, student loans)
- Dropped call or no message
- Vacation & timeshares
- Warranties & protection plans
- Calls pretending to be government, businesses, or family and friends
- Medical & prescriptions
Why the growth in robocalls?
The FTC report cites advancements in technology, especially with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, for the increase in automated telemarketing calls.
With cheap internet access and the available software tools like auto-dialers and Caller ID spoofing, illegal telemarketers can make increasingly higher volumes of calls inexpensively from anywhere while concealing their identities.
Here are ways to stop robocalls:
Use call blockers
Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. You can also visit the FCC's website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls. (Click here to learn how to block specific phone numbers.)
Block unknown callers
Many phone companies allow you to block calls that don't show a number on caller ID. Check with your provider to find out how to turn this feature on. Note: if someone you actually know calls you and blocks their outgoing number, their call won't make it through if you've turned this feature on.
This is actually the easiest solution to eliminating robocalls. If you receive a call from an unknown number or one that doesn't show up on caller ID, don't answer. If it's an important call, the person will leave a message and you can get back to them.
Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry
This move will stop many robocalls before they begin. If you're on the registry, it's illegal for many robocallers to call you. Click here to get your number into the National Do Not Call Registry. After your number is on the registry for 31 days, you can report unwanted sales calls.
If you answer the phone and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify and target live respondents. Once they know the number is active, you will receive more calls in the future.
Taking the steps in this article will help cut back the number of robocalls that you receive. It could save you from falling victim to a scammer. Remember to share this article with your friends and family so they can block those annoying calls too. Simply click the share button along the left side of this article to post it on Facebook.
Get call blocking apps
You can also download and install call blocking apps such as NomoRobo, True Caller or Hiya on your smartphone. Click here for more information about these types of apps.