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New government tool to stop annoying robocalls

New government tool to stop annoying robocalls
© Syda Productions | Dreamstime

If it's happened once, it's happened a hundred times. You're just sitting down for a nice family dinner and ring, you get an unsolicited phone call.

This is nothing new, it has been going on for decades. Back in the day, these calls were simply annoying. Nowadays, they can be downright malicious, with scammers trying to rip us off or steal our identity.

If you've noticed an increase in robocalls lately, you're not alone. A recent study by Truecaller shows that the number of spam calls has been rising around the world. People in the U.S. receive an average of 18.8 spam calls each month. Yikes!

Whether it's just an annoying telemarketing call, or a scammer looking for a new victim, it would be nice to eliminate these calls altogether. It's better to be safe than sorry.

That's why you need to know how to stop annoying robocalls. Here at Komando.com you can depend on us to have your back. We have published several articles to help you stop the annoying robocalls on your phone.

Tips to help you out right now

Take a moment and make sure you are taking the right steps to stop telemarketing calls on your phone. Click here to read our article giving you a great tactic to block them. You'll be so glad that you did.

But don't stop there. When we wrote this article, so many people sent us thank you emails for it. Click here to a little-known method to stop robocalls and telemarketers for good.

Have you noticed that calls now look like they are coming from your neighbors? The calls come in showing the same area code and exchange. Yes, we're getting them too and it's happening so often throughout the entire country, the government has gotten involved.

The government has a new tool that can help as well. Keep reading to find out how.

How to stop robocalls

Spam calls are similar to spam emails when it comes to the staggering number of attempts. The more calls a spammer makes, the greater chance they have for success. Which is why the number of calls is growing out of control.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), robocalls and telemarketing calls are consistently the top source of consumer complaints. It estimates that in 2016 alone, U.S. consumers received nearly 2.4 billion robocalls per month. 

Robocalls are unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones, and all auto-dialed or prerecorded calls or text messages to wireless numbers, emergency numbers, and patient rooms at health care facilities.  

FCC rules limit many types of robocalls, though some calls are allowed if prior consent is given. Rules differ between landlines and wireless phones. However, there are steps that you can take on your own to stop receiving them.

File a complaint

You've probably heard of the Do Not Call Registry. If not, click here to learn important details about it.

The government has just made an important change that makes the registry more effective. You can now report unwanted calls by filing a complaint on the FTC website. The agency has made its complaint form simple, with numerous drop-down menus to help you through the process.

When you file a complaint you will be asked a series of questions detailing the unwanted call. For example, was the call a recorded message or robocall? Did you receive a phone call or a mobile text message?

When you complete the simple process, you'll see a notice that your complaint has been accepted. Do not call complaints will be entered into a secure online database available to civil and criminal law enforcement agencies. While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint will help the agency investigate the company, and could lead to law enforcement action.

Here are ways to help stop robocalls:

  • Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry - This is your first move. 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.

 

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers - This is the most obvious and simplest precaution. Let unknown calls go to voicemail.

 

  • Hang up - If you answer 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.

 

  • Block specific numbers - If you're constantly getting spam calls from the same phone number, block it.

 

  • Take notes - If you receive unwanted calls or robocalls in violation of the FTC policy, take notes. You’ll want to gather this information from the call: incoming phone number, date and time of call, what the call was about, and whether it was a recording or live person.

 

Stopping all unwanted calls is nearly impossible. Even after you've registered your number with the Do Not Call Registry, you may still receive calls from certain organizations. Charities, political organizations, and telephone surveyors for example. Click here to see FTC rules on who may still call you.

However, taking the steps in this article will help cut back the number of spam calls 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.

More tips you can't miss:

How to stop your smart TV from spying on you

Common security risks every smartphone user should know about

How to spot disguised malicious files before they infect your computer

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