Robocall ringing your cellphone? Here's what not to do

Posted: Updated:
TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

By Ian Schwartz

PHOENIX -- They used to bug you at home, but now telemarketers and scammers are calling your cell phone and sometimes several times a week!

There are more than a few ways to describe automated calls offering sales pitches which are often scams.

Many people have been getting more and more of these robocalls, in fact, it's one of the most common complaints to the Federal Trade Commission with more than 20 million a year.

"If it says it's from Louisiana or New York City, and I don't know anybody in those places, I just don't answer the phone," Bob Hurley said, who received more than a few robocalls in the past few months.

That's a good approach, but Arizona State cyber security researcher Raymond Tu said the Do Not Call Registry likely won't help.

"It only works when these scammers, robo-callers respect the law," Tu said.

[RELATED: AG Brnovich kicks off Arizona Consumer Protection Week]

A lot of recorded robocalls are from overseas operations likely looking to scam you, offering free trips or claiming to be the IRS.

Tu said the calls are cheap, easy to make over the internet and very hard to trace.

Tu added that scammers can make it seem like their call is a local number, a number you trust.

"Usually I just push zero, talk to an operator and ask them to remove my number from their list. Which they always tell me they do," Christine Hurley said when describing ways to beat robocalls.

But according to the Federal Trade Commission, pushing a number to get yourself off a list, likely means scammers put you right back into the system to get more robocalls.

There are some monthly pay apps that say they will block robocalls.

"Basically user feedbacks to aggregate a list of offending caller IDs, they will automatically block theses caller IDs," Tu said.

But Tu warns it is possible for scammers to easily come up with new phone number combinations that can sneak past these apps.

He says smarter caller ID is the answer and he and other researchers are working on that solution at ASU’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics.

Until they find it, your best and cheapest option is to ignore the call and if you do pick up, make sure to never give our any of your information.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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