Just when we thought that spam filters and ad blockers had weeded out the more annoying attempts at advertising and international scamming, robocalls became the most irritating minor problem around. And it’s not your imagination—according to a new report by the Federal Trade Commission, the number of calls is definitely on the rise, with the FTC receiving 4.5 million complaints about robocalls in 2017, up from 3.4 million the year before.
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If robocalls are blowing up your phone, one of the steps you can take to stop them is to get on the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry. But that will only prevent you from getting calls from legal, US telemarketers. International calls and less scrupulous callers will keep on ringing, registry or no. The International Business Timesoffered some tips on how to stop the calls:
When the calls keep coming despite having a number registered on the Do Not Call list, start reporting them to the FTC. The government agency has a form online that makes it easy to report unwanted robocalls. The calls can also be reported by calling 888-382-1222. The agency often decides what robocallers to target based on the number of complaints, so reporting calls can help push the agency into action.
For blocking the unwanted robocalls that the FTC can’t catch, sign up for a third-party app that can help prevent the calls from coming through. A favorite of consumers—and the FTC—is Nomorobo , an app that won the FTC’s Robocall Challenge.
Hopefully 2018 can be the year when it’s safe to answer phone calls from unfamiliar numbers again.