Automated telemarketing calls, or robocalls, to our cell phones have become one of the biggest consumer complaints to the FTC this year. But you now have more ways than ever to fight back.
Some robocallers are spoofing their number, making it look like you're getting a call from the IRS or the local sheriff's department. It's sometimes called cell phone spam, and the Federal Trade Commission estimates 4 billion computerized robocalls were made last year.
But now there are a number of apps you can download on your cell phone to block robocalls. Some of the top rated blocking apps for smartphones include:
- Privacy Star, which lets you block specific numbers, and see who's really calling.
- Mr. Number
- Calls BlacklistT
- True Caller
The most popular app is NoMoRobo, which works on internet based landline phones as well as iPhones and Androids.
Its founder recently testified before Congress claiming the 10-year-old Do Not Call list no longer works, as it stops only legitimate companies, such as banks and insurance companies, from calling. The $5 a month NoMoRobo service compares your incoming call with a list of millions of robocallers and sends questionable calls to your voicemail, where most scammers will not leave a message.
Another service is "Burner," which gives you a temporary phone number to share with businesses.
Burner founder Greg Cohn said that for $5 a month, you get a disposable phone number you can change whenever pesky sales people start calling you too much.
Cohn said "a great example is a time when that car salesperson is going to try to put you behind the wheel and they are going to try to get your contact information, and believe me they are going to call and text you!"
He says you give them your temporary number, then "dispose" of it and get a new number a month later. You still have your personal cell phone number, but you never share it except with family and friends.