Are you fed up with the unwanted robocalls and telemarketers? You are not alone. Robocalls are the No. 1 complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and are on the rise with more than 7 million reports of unwanted calls in 2017.
Even if you're on the National Do Not Call Registry, you will still get the unwanted calls. There are several apps and programs that you can sign up for to help cut down on the annoying calls. One is Nomorobo. It's a cloud-based service that hangs up or blocks robocallers and telemarketers. For landline phones, the service is free. The catch is that it only works with VoIP phone service, which means you get your phone through an internet or cable provider. It does not work on traditional "analog copper" phone lines.
Tracey St. Clair uses Nomorobo and said it has cut down on her unwanted calls.
"They intercept the phone call, and they can tell if it's an illegal robocall or telemarketer and the phone will typically ring once and if it doesn't ring again I know Nomorobo picked it up," St. Clair said.
Nomorobo is also available for your cell phone. However, it does cost $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
Marisa Fotieo of Lincoln Park, Chicago, uses a silly automated message to mess with telemarketers and answer her robocalls.
"I mean, it's just like every other day I would be getting these calls, and I would pick them up because it had the same area code where I was from in Michigan, thinking it would be a family member or my parents trying to get ahold of me," she said.
Those callers most likely used spoofing technology to fake the numbers, making it more likely you will answer. Now Fotieo pays the app RoboKiller $2.99 a month to send suspicious and non-programmed numbers directly to voicemail. Live callers get tricked by pre-recorded messages.
Answer Bot: Oh my goodness, hello?
Caller: Hi Ma'am, I like that greeting.
Answer Bot: Hi, how are you?
Caller: I've been doing great.
Answer Bot: I've been waiting for your call!
Caller: Ha, ha, thank you! I was just-
Answer Bot: I'm so glad you called.
Caller: Wow is this Mrs...
One telemarketer, fooled by the above automated messages, stayed on the phone for three and a half minutes.
"It's kind of like, 'I'm getting you back for all these calls that you've been calling me with,'" Fotieo said.
The big question, is there a risk of missing legitimate calls that aren't saved in your address book? RoboKiller said its technology makes that risk low, with a false positive rate of less than 1.2 percent.
RoboKiller also said that even if legitimate calls are accidentally blocked you can still hear the messages in your spam box app and then mark that number as being allowed.
Another company that uses answer bots to mess with telemarketers is Jolly Roger Telephone Company.
You should also check with your cell phone provider as the majority offer programs that detect and block unwanted call.
Here are other programs and apps to use to try to cut down on unwanted robocalls and telemarketers
Works across carriers and different types of smartphones
Free app for Android and iPhone
Identifies calls you want and blocks the ones you don't want to receive
Block calls, blacklist unwanted phone numbers and SMS text messages, reverse phone search incoming call information and receive spam alerts
See who's calling before you pick up
See where a call is coming from (mobile, landline, or pre-paid)
Instant access to top spammers in the area, screen, and block all unwanted incoming calls
Replace unknown numbers in your call history with names and photos and see if your friends are busy before you call
Can do calls & SMS
Available for Android, iOS, and Windows
Free download and then offers in-app purchased ($1.99 for a month, $17.99 for a year)
Check out the FTC website also as it offers resources on how to block unwanted calls.
Put an end to unwanted robo-calls and telemarketers