How to stop pesky robocalls and texts to your cell phone
Are robocalls blowing up your smartphone? You're not alone.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says the agency’s top consumer complaints involve robocalls — and now, the agency is deciding how to proceed in the fight against unwanted callers.
The FCC announced Wednesday it will vote in June whether to allow wireless carriers to block spam calls by default. The volume of calls rose to a record 5 billion in October, according to call-blocker YouMail. That's "1,973 robocalls for every second of the month," the software company said.
The high influx of robocalls has shown how cheap and simple it is for scammers to call millions of people. Not all robocalls are necessarily scams — some are from debt collectors and telemarketers selling insurance, cruises and the like.
But if you'd like to avoid unknown dialers altogether, here are some tips you should follow.
Don’t pick up
The FCC has informed consumers not to pick up the phone if you do not know the number. If you so happen to answer, hang up right away. The agency also warned that some robocalls can appear as a call in your area code.
Do not answer any questions
If you so happen to pick up the phone, do not answer any questions, “especially those that can be answered with ‘Yes,’” according to the FCC.
Never give out personal information
If asked for your social security number, mother’s maiden name or account numbers, hang up immediately.
What you can do to avoid robocalls altogether
There are apps available for Android phones and iPhones that attempt to block robocalls. Those apps are Hiya Caller ID, RoboKiller and Nomorobo, according to PCMag.
A consumer can also register on the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call Registry." It is free to register. The agency’s website noted that a person may still receive calls from charities and debt collectors after registering.
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If you continue to receive calls from the same numbers, you can block the number on your smartphone.
Google’s Pixel 3 phone has a feature that screens robocalls and responds to the calls with an automated message. Phone owners can choose to reply to a robocall with an automated message or report it as spam.
The other option includes contacting your phone carrier and asking them to block unwanted calls. Verizon offers its customers a free service that allows its users to detect and filter robocalls, according to PC Mag. AT&T offers its customers a call-blocking app and a guide for its consumers on how to block those unwanted calls.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.