They’re the calls we dread. Often times, they’re non-stop. We’re talking about robocalls — that computer-generated voice on the other side of the phone.
“They really started a few years ago, but I have to say within six months it’s gotten very persistent,” said Elizabeth Waters, who owns Snip Snaps, a hair salon in Guilford.
She says the robocalls are non-stop every single day on both her work phone and cell phone.
“I don’t want to not answer the phone and risk losing a customer,” said Waters.
According to You Mail Robocall Index, there have been more than 170,000,000 robocalls placed in Connecticut since the start of the year. Roughly twenty-two calls every second.
“We honestly live in a world where you can’t trust the called ID. It’s been compromised,” said Luke Frey, with the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.
The BBB is keeping a close eye on the issue. So is the Federal Communications Commission. These unwanted calls ring up more than 200,000 consumer complaints every year. Making it the biggest complaint, by far.
“People behind robocalls are fraudsters and scammers and they are trying to get your personal information,” said David Weissmann, spokesman for Verizon.
The cell phone companies are fighting the battle, offering free ways to alert customers or avoid the nuisance all together.
Verizon created the ‘Call Filter’ app, which is free to download. However, some calls may still come through, but you can report the numbers that come through instantaneously to Verizon right through the app to get them blocked.
“What Call Filter will do is basically filter the call so that when a call comes in if it’s not from someone you know, you’ll see,” said Weissmann.
Truth be told, if you think a robocall is coming through on your phone the best thing you can do is not pick up.
“Any interaction with that caller reiterates the fact that you are a person and you’ll probably be placed on other call lists,” Frey explains.
The BBB says not all robocalls are created equal. Gone are the days of just fake calls from the IRS. Scammers will now pretend to be your bank, the utility company or even someone you know.
“Not all these robo call scams will stick out like a sore thumb and you won’t automatically know it’s a scam,” says Frey.
There’s also the national do not call registry, but some people don’t always have luck with that.
Those watching this issue closely say it’s going to take a technical and legal approach to stop these scammers. That means getting the government involved to make these types of calls illegal.
“So it’s going to take a team effort of Verizon, the carriers, everyone, citizens, everyone needs to be involved,” says Weissmann.
To see what service your cell phone company is offering to help with robocalls, click the links below.