How to fight back against illegal robocalls

In a FOX 32 special report, there’s a rise in those dreaded and unwanted robocalls.

Scammers are calling at record rates, but there are ways for you to turn the tables on the callers.

The Federal Trade Commission is so desperate to find ways to put an end to the calls that they've held contests asking average citizens to help them rid the country of robocallers.

The calls are frustrating and constant. The recorded calls to your phone typically try to sell you something.

And the problem is only getting worse. An estimated 30 billion robocalls were placed in 2017. That's nearly 1,000 calls a second.

And illegal robocallers are getting more crafty, spoofing phone numbers so they look similar to yours. 

“The reason they're doing that is they want to make it seem like it's a local call, like it's somebody you know,” said Todd Kossow.

But Kossow with the Federal Trade Commission says there are ways to fight back against these unwanted calls.

First - don't answer the phone if you think it's a robocall. Then, the telemarketers won't know if your line is active. 

“The other thing we think consumers should do is investigate call-blocking technology,” Kossow said.

The FTC holds robocall challenges to encourage regular people to try and fix the robocall problem.

“Some people call me the Robocall Robocop,” said Aaron Foss.

Foss was one of the winners. He created "NoMoRobo" - which blocks scam robocalls to your cell phone and landline. 

Foss says his technology has stopped hundreds of millions of robocalls from going through.

“The robocall problem has always been big, and it's actually just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger,” Foss said.

If you want to take it one step further, an app called "RoboKiller" also won the FTC challenge.

Not only does it block robocalls, it turns the tables on them with "answer bots" designed specifically to waste their time.

The FTC says never put your number on a caller's internal "do-not-call" list. That could actually cause you to receive more calls since they'll know you have a live line.

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