Automated prerecorded robocalls which, for commercial purposes are always illegal, are the number one consumer complaint reported by the public to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and are used to perpetrate a wide variety of frauds at a cost of approximately 9.5 billion dollars annually. The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers accounts for much of the problem.
The FTC recently fined Adrian Abramovich 120 million dollars for using spoofing phone calls to sell timeshares and travel packages. As regular readers of Scamicide know, spoofing is a technique by which a call can trick Caller ID into making it appear that is coming from a source other than the true source. Abramovich would spoof the calls to make them appear to be coming from local numbers. This technique is called “neighbor spoofing.” The prerecorded messages would appear to come from well known legitimate travel companies such as Marriott, Expedia, Hilton and TripAdvisor offering “exclusive” vacation deals, but the truth is that none of these companies were involved with Abramovich and the deals being offered were far from exclusive or special.
There are a number of options for preventing robocalls including a number of apps that for free or a small fee will prevent robocalls.
Samsung’s SmartCall informs you if the call you are receiving is from a known robocaller. This feature is available with newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Here is a link to information about SmartCall and instructions as to how to activate this app.
Google also has a spam blocker that will warn you when you are receiving a robocall and your screen will turn red. Here is a link to information about the app and how to install it.
AT&T also offers free apps to block robocalls on iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link to information about these apps.
Verizon’s CallerName ID is a free service for iPhones and Android phones that will alert you to suspected robocallers. Here is a link to Verizon’s app.
T-Mobile offers a free scam blocker of known robocallers for Android phones which you can activate by merely dialing #662#
Sprint offers a paid service to protect your iPhone or Android phone from robocalls. For more information, use this link
For landlines as well as smartphones there are a number of apps such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, RoboKiller and YouMail that offer robocall blocking for free or for small monthly charges.  Here is a link to those apps. I have used Nomorobo for years and find it to be tremendously useful
Finally, you can just choose to ignore any calls that come from numbers you do not recognize.  If they are legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call them back.
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