Robocalls

The Federal Communications Commission estimated that 48 billion robocalls are made each year. The illegal calls are easy and cheap for scammers to make. 

Q: What can I do if I keep getting those annoying robocalls?

A: Chances are you’ve received one of those pesky phones calls from an unrecognized number — or one that appears to be legitimate.

Informational calls or those about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations are legal, but sales messages from a place you haven’t given permission to get calls from are illegal.

In addition, the sales pitch most likely is a scam, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Robocalls, which are powered by internet telephones, are an easy and cheap way for scammers to make the illegal calls and have been increasing in number.

Often, the robocalls are selling fraudulent credit card services, so-called auto warranty protection and home security systems, among others, according to the FTC.

In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission estimated that 2.4 billion robocalls were made a month.

To try to reduce the number of those calls, there are a number of steps to take, according to the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin.

Registering with the Do Not Call list at donotcall.gov is one step; however, scammers likely are ignoring the list, according to the FTC.

Another step is calling the Do Not Call List at 888-382-1222 to blacklist robocall numbers by adding them to a national registry for researchers and telecommunications companies that try to stop such calls.

But the best advice is to not answer the phone from a number you don’t know and then report it, according to the BBB Serving Wisconsin.

“These unwanted calls are a nuisance, plain and simple,” said Lisa Schiller, a BBB Serving Wisconsin spokeswoman. “The best advice is to not answer the phone when it’s a number you do not know. But, do take time to report it.”

The BBB also said to not press any digits on a keypad if you answer a call and beware of a “bait and switch.”

Otherwise, many phones allow you to block certain numbers. There are also apps you can download to help screen for robocalls.

For more information, go to go.madison.com/robocall-info. To file a complaint online, go to go.madison.com/complaints.

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Send questions to: justaskus@madison.com; Just Ask Us, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI 53708.

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