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CHIPS Articles: Apps to stop aggravating robocalls

Apps to stop aggravating robocalls
By CHIPS Magazine - October 13, 2017
Are you harassed by robocalls and wondering what you can do about them? Reporting illegal robocalls helps the Federal Trade Commission and other law enforcement agencies go after the scammers behind them.

But you don’t have to wait for the FTC to stop them; you can end these calls now. One option is a robocall-blocking app for your mobile phone. Robocall blocking apps can give you the ability to:

  • Prescreen your calls before the phone rings.
  • Block certain types of calls, including calls that others have flagged as fraudulent or unwanted calls.
  • Block anonymous calls that show up as “Unknown” callers.
  • Use reverse lookup to detect fake caller ID information from call spoofing.

Scammers use fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone in your local area or someone you trust — like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with — like your bank or internet provider. This con is known as caller ID spoofing and these scammers are relentless in trying to provoke you into answering their calls.

The FTC says don’t rely on caller ID to verify who’s calling. It can be nearly impossible to tell whether the caller ID information is real. If you feeling pressured to act immediately — hang up. That’s a sure sign of a scam.

Apps to the rescue

To avoid these calls, the app that works for you might depend on your phone’s operating system, says the FTC. Before you consider downloading any app, do your research and determine the call protection that works best for you. CTIA, a trade association representing manufacturers and providers of wireless products and services, has a comprehensive list of call blocking apps.

Read Blocking Unwanted Calls for other ideas on stopping robocalls. You also can find out more about what the FTC is doing to fight illegal robocalls at ftc.gov/robocalls, including several initiatives to develop technology-based solutions.

If your mobile number isn’t already on the National Do Not Call Registry, it’s also a good idea to add it. If you continue to get sales calls, at least you’ll know the callers don’t respect the law. If you continue to get illegal robocalls or other unwanted calls, report them to the FTC. Your complaints help the FTC target scammers and help telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are working on blocking solutions.

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