RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Unwanted calls from telemarketers and scamsters continue to grow.
It’s a huge problem that has both the FCC and phone companies struggling to find ways to control it, but there are ways you can help take back your phone.
Robocalls have reached an all-time high. And scam calls are also on the increase. It’s so bad organizations like the Better Business Bureau are putting out alerts.
“We’re hearing about more and more scam calls each year,” says Mallory Wojciechowski, who is the president of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.
According to the BBB’s Scam Tracker, compared to last year, scam calls have increased. With the year just a little more than half over, “5,700 phone scams reported in the U.S. and Canada already,” said Wojciechowski. Last year she says, “Only 6,700 scam calls were reported for all of 2016.”
When it comes to robocalls from Telemarketers, some people try and opt out. Turns out, that may be making things worse.
“Sometimes on automated calls they’ll say to press 3 to opt out, says Wojciechowski. But, by doing that, “you let them know that’s an active phone and you’re likely to get more calls.”
If you haven’t done so, you need to add your name the National Do Not Call registry.
Smartphone Apps like “Mr. Number” or “True Caller” also work to alert you to a robocall.
A site and app called Nomorobo is also available — but it costs $1.99 a month.
Joyce Yount is a consumer annoyed by robocalls. She says she gets as many as 10 a day sometimes on her cell phone.
“First I used to block them but that didn’t work. Now I just don’t answer them,” says Yount.
One of the biggest issues is spoofed caller ID which gives a fake name for a caller.
“We were actually shocked to learn that that caller ID is an optional piece of information that none of the switches on the phone call network check for authenticity,” says Adam Doupe.
Doupe is part of a Security Engineering at group at Arizona State University who told CBS News they are working on an app that can detect spoofed numbers and block them.
“If anybody else spoofs it, they don’t have that cryptographic signature, so that’s going to fail. So we’ll either say, ‘hey we don’t know if this caller ID is legitimate or not’ or we can say ‘somebody is actively trying to spoof it’,” Doupe said.
Once the group perfects that App, they hope phone carriers will build that anti-spoofing technology into their systems — but that’s at least 5 years away.
So until then—don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know, get on the do not call list and block them on your cell phone if you can.
That way you can begin to take back your phone.
Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.