On Your Side Alert: Decreasing robocalls

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Federal Trade Commission says consumers are getting more robocalls than ever, but there are ways you can minimize the calls.

Companies are using auto dialers that can send out thousands of phone calls every minute. If you have a phone, chances are you've gotten one of those annoying robocalls.

"robocalls, is a term we use to describe a computerized auto dialer," said Jake Anthony with AT&T. Anthony says while there is no 100 percent way to put an end to the calls, your first line of defense is not responding."They are going to ask you to respond with a prompt. One, two, follow some type of directions, don't do that. By doing that, you are simply confirming that your mobile number is a working number and that can lead to additional phone calls."

The Federal Trade Commission targets and fines companies making illegal robocalls. The agency says it's constantly cracking down and looking for ways to stop the calls. It recently announced a winner in its challenge to the public to come up with a way to help reduce the problem.

A representative with the FTC sent a statement reading, in part,"The FTC robocall Challenge was meant as a market stimulation challenge. It will be up to the individual winners how and when they get their solutions into the marketplace. We think the three winning technical proposals can work, and we're excited to see what happens next."

AT&T offers a service that can block the calls but the company says keep in mind, while it may decrease them, the people behind those nagging calls can work around the technology.

"They have a tendency to change their number, so this may only help you a little bit," Anthony said.

Signing up for the Do Not Call Registry may also help decrease the number of robocalls you receive. You can also file a complaint with the FTC if the calls persist. "Being smart as a consumer, trying to prevent them, being educated and knowledgeable on how to minimize them, is the best thing you can do Anthony says.

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