SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Do those annoying robocalls seem to be getting worse? That’s probably because they are. Although they’re illegal, everybody gets them. So what can you do?
The pandemic combined with the holidays is creating prime pickings for scammers looking to get your personal information and often your money.
“Americans were hit with 58 billion robocalls last year. That’s billion with a B. On a population of 350 million people, that’s a pretty astonishing number,” said Jessie Schmidt with the Better Business Bureau in Sioux Falls.
Schmidt says there are things you can do to stop robocalls. Here are the top three.
No. 1, and most importantly, don’t answer. if you answer your number will make it onto more lists that are created and sold to other scammers.
If you don’t answer eventually your number will fall off those lists.
“Because it will show as an unanswered phone call, what they want is for you to answer and engage at some level, any level,” said Schmidt.
The second thing you can do to discourage robocalls is install an app, if you have a cellphone.
Robo Shield, Robo Killer, No Mo Robo are just a few examples. Phone companies like Verizon and AT&T have their own blockers that can alert you to spam calls.
The third thing you can do is continuously block the numbers. Eventually, scammers may realize you are not an easy target.
And by now you know that just because an unfamiliar number comes up as local, doesn’t mean it is.
In fact, Schmidt says more than likely the caller is a scammer from out of the country.
“They’re looking to get all sorts of information, personal information mostly, to put you in a compromising situation to get you nervous and off your game, many of these robocalls are government imposters, so they claim to be it was from the IRS, then it was the Social Security Administration and they’ll be another one this next year, you know the more savvy we get, the savvier they get,” said Schmidt.
If you do answer for some reason and it turns out to be someone you don’t know, don’t be afraid of being rude. Just remember this, if you’re on the Do Not Call Registry, what the person on the other line is doing is illegal, so hang up.