Over the years I have written numerous times about the problems presented by robocalls and with good reason.  Automated robocalls which, for commercial purposes, are illegal, are the number one consumer complaint reported by the public to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at a cost to consumers of billions of dollars each year. Robocalls are used by scammers to perpetrate a wide variety of scams.  The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) accounts for much of the problem.

Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled a complaint brought by it against a number of VoIP providers including VoIP Terminator, Inc and BL Marketing, Inc. for transmitting millions of illegal robocalls, many of which used spoofing to make the calls appear as if they were coming from legitimate sources.  These calls were used to perpetrate a variety of scams including many related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from doing robocalls and must screen its VoIP customers to identify suspected scammers.

TIPS

There are a number of options we all have for preventing robocalls including a number of apps that for free or a small fee will  reduce and, in some instances 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.
http://www.samsung.com/levant/apps/smart-call/

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.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.dialer&hl=en

AT&T also offers free apps to block robocalls on iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link to information about these apps.
https://www.att.com/features/security-apps.html?partner=LinkShare&siteId=TnL5HPStwNw-yrUS1uDw9WGvN._xt67yew&source=ECay0000000CEL00O

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.
https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/caller-name-id/

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
http://explore.t-mobile.com/callprotection

Finally, you can just choose to ignore any calls that come from numbers you do not recognize.   This is a good option.  If they are legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call them back.

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