Consumer Watch: New way to fight robocalls

In August, consumers received more than 4.2 billion robocalls. Many came from scammers trying to trick consumers out of money. They usually offer some sort of product and ask consumers to either wire money from a bank account into their account or go to a store, pick up a preloaded credit card, and send them money that way.

According to a study, scam calls will account for nearly half of all mobile calls by 2019. A lot of these calls come from the same area code as your phone, so you might assume it's a friend or someone you know and answer it. But it's a common tactic called "spoofing." That's when robocallers disguise their number to look like one that comes from your local area.

There's a new technology with a strange name that could help. Shaken and stirred technology is promising, something that's being developed by the phone providers as a way to sift out spoofed calls. Still, it could be years before consumers see the benefits of the new tech.

In the meantime, here's what you can do:

List your phone number with the national Do Not Call Registry, ask your phone company whether it offers an advanced robocall-blocking service, and consider a call-blocking app. Nomorobo, Hiya, and PrivacyStar all offer call-protection options.

Another way consumers can fight back is to report robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission. Just write down the number and enter it on the FTC's Do Not Call list.
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