Cybersafe Community Report: How to stop robocalls

Cyber Safe

Most everyone can agree robocalls are obnoxious. Nobody wants to be bothered by them. 

These unsolicited auto-dialed spam calls bug you dozens of times a week–sometimes even more. A common message demands you “pay the IRS” or some other penalty or suffer the consequences.

Spoofing happens because the carriers don’t verify that a phone number is real before a call crosses their networks. 

A reporter in our newsroom received one the day of this report. She didn’t answer the call, but there was a message waiting for her. The message said, “Once you get this message, kindly call us back as soon as possible on our number before we begin with the legal proceedings against you.”

She clearly did not believe the caller and didn’t call back. 

Too often, people panic and fall victim to such outrageous schemes. 

Many times you can tell the calls are spam by their unfamiliar area codes. However, some are now creating numbers from your apparent area code. 

The key is not answering a call you don’t recognize.

But stopping the robocalls is difficult. Even though there was a multimillion-dollar lawsuit settled recently against a company, the settlement cannot be enforced, and only a few thousand dollars have been paid out to victims. 

Any change will come from the big four cell giants: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T has automatically provided the spam identifier to its users, while Verizon requires you download the app. It’s called “Call filter” and comes with a free 10-day trial. After that, it costs $2.99 a month. Some new phones or updates comes preinstalled in phones. It requires you to turn it on in your settings.

If you head to the app store on your device, you can find several filters to choose from. You may be required to pay a monthly fee. You’ll have to determine if it’s worth the headache or money. 

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