Life in the 2010s is more convenient than ever. You can listen to music, hail a taxi, and order food all from a tiny computer you carry in your pocket. But one thing that has absolutely gotten worse in recent years, however, is robocalls.
While sales calls were always annoying, modern technology lets scammers make thousands of calls to thousands of people every minute. It's become such an epidemic, in fact, that even the U.S. Congress is considering taking action against the onslaught of spammers.
Despite how pervasive robocalls are, there's no reason to let the scammers continue harassing people. Ordinary consumers are starting to fight back against unwanted robocallers -- and some of them are even hacking the scammers themselves! What's more, some big-name tech companies are joining the fight against robocalls to help even the playing field once and for all.
At Komando.com, we've aggressively covered robocallers and phone scams to help our readers avoid wasting their time and money. Now, we're bringing you the latest updates in the war on robocalls, as well as some new tricks you can use to report and stamp out this digital menace for good.
Fighting back with hacks
It's said that revenge is "a dish best served cold," a phrase here which means "in a ruthless and unexpected manner." And what's more ruthless than breaking into the systems of scammers who are looking to break into yours?
While we don't endorse hacking of any kind at Komando.com (it's illegal, after all), we admit that there's nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a con artist get taken for a ride.
And that's just what internet activist Jim Browning does when he gets a robocall or spam popup. When he makes contact with spammers, he uses his computer knowledge to creep into their systems and spy on their operations.
Then, he exposes their methods publicly on his YouTube channel. He's even managed to get several prominent spammers banned or removed for their behavior. While all of his videos are entertaining, none are quite as funny as his "soundboards," where he impersonates a celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger when engaging with spammers.
How you can fight back against scammers
Browning's crusade against spammers has inspired many people to do their part in rebuking phone spammers, but readers may be wondering what else they can do if they're not quite as computer savvy as he is.
Thankfully, one of the biggest names in the tech industry has become a powerful ally in the war on robocalls. Microsoft runs what it calls the Digital Crimes Unit, which monitors and tracks cybercrime with the help of user reporting.
To identify known scammers and shut their operations down, they've opened a "scam reporting page" that users can fill out with detailed information about the calls they've received, as well as the tactics scammers are using.
One of the most popular methods right now is the "tech support scam," where a robocaller will claim to work for Microsoft and demand to "repair" your computer for a price. Microsoft says its scam-reporting endeavor is crucial since it helps to restore consumer trust in the company, as well as the tech industry in general.
On top of helping Microsoft shut down scammers, there are a number of third-party solutions to fight back at robocalls, including the popular Robokiller app, Anonymous Call Rejection, and carrier filtering (you may need to call your phone provider to see if they're offering this feature).
As of right now, there seems to be no end in sight to the plague of robocalls. Taking up arms against these scammers, however, can help curb their massive numbers. Until robocalls are dead and gone for good, it's definitely a battle worth fighting.
FCC proposes controversial plan to stop robocalls
Robocalls are so annoying, and it seems like they are getting more and more frequent. Calling early in the morning or even during dinner, they seem relentless. But, these robocalls have gotten the attention of the FCC and that could spell trouble not only for the robocallers, but also for us. What the FCC is proposing is somewhat controversial and might even affect you.