WTOC Investigates: What can you do to stop robocalls?

WTOC Investigates: Stopping Robocalls

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It seems like everyone receives multiple robocalls every day. But what can people do to truly reduce the number of calls?

Robocalls are the number one consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, and it seems the complaints keep growing.

The owner of MOFO's BBQ wants the phone to ring off the hook for orders and catering – not for robocalls.

"We get about five or six calls every day. Usually, it's random numbers. Sometimes it's 912 numbers, so you don't really know who's calling," said Charles Luster, MOFO's BBQ Owner.

According to the 2017 Do Not Call Registry Congressional Report, more than 229 million registrations exist for the national Do Not Call Registry. The Federal Trade Commission averages 375,000 consumer complaints a month about robocalls, and the FCC averages 185,000 a month.

"The reason why we get so many robocalls is because someone at the other end is making lots of money scamming people and stealing peoples' identities," Ethan Garr said.

Garr is the vice president of product for RoboKiller, the company that won the FTC's competition to block nuisance calls.

"They're calling thousands and thousands of times per second because their hope is to get you to press one or press three, somehow to get you to self-select yourself as the potential victim so you can talk to a human telemarketer, and they're dangerous ones. They're the ones who want to hurt you," Garr said.

Garr said whether you download RoboKiller or another app, there are some basic tips you should follow to be safe.

"Don't answer phone calls you don't know, and, if you're going to answer the phone calls, don't give out any personally identifiable information," he said.

As for Charles Luster, he said he has no choice but to answer every call.

"Even after you put 'do not call me again,'  they just call you from a different number, so it's like all the time there's just some randomness happening and you never know what you're going to get. It's just really annoying," Luster said.

"It's a loss," he said. "You don't want to take that. That's why you answer the phone."

If you don't want to answer every call, you can always download a blocker. However, keep in mind the overwhelming majority only give you the first week free, then it will cost you a fee every month.

The state of Georgia is actually being targeted, according to a recent study by YouMail. The company found that in June of 2017, Atlanta received 183 million robocalls. Dallas was the runner-up with 97 million robocalls, and the city of Miami came in third with 93 million.

To learn more about RoboKiller, click here.

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