LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Robocalls, telemarketers, unwanted calls and scams; most people can agree that they are annoying. Calls claiming that you’ve won a cruise, a car warranty is up, or maybe someone claiming they are from the IRS are quite common.
Indiana lawmakers met this week to talk about how to stop these calls, and if penalties should be harsher. More than anything, the people calling from numbers you don’t recognize want your money.
WAVE 3 News went to downtown Louisville to ask people if they get these sort of calls and it didn’t take long to find victims.
"I get them quite often," Kenneth Payton said.
"I'll hang up quickly if I think it's a robocall," Alex Helm said.
"It's pretty annoying, I don't know who is on the other side," Jordan Barbour said.
The total number of telemarketing calls placed to Americans crossed the 5 billion call mark for the first time this July.
"The average American in the US is getting hit with 19 of these calls per month and where you guys are it's particularly bad," Ethan Garr from Robokiller said.
Garr knows all about these annoying calls. He explained that in the 812 area code, his research found out that Hoosiers can get 29 calls during an average month and in the 502, there is an average of 26 spam calls per month.
Neighbor spoofing is also becoming a huge problem, that's calls from the same area code and some of the same digits as you.
"A lot of debt collection scams, scams targeting financial services, we even saw one that is common in your area for duct cleaning," Garr said.
Kenneth Payton said he knows when it’s a scam right away.
“I don’t know how you would tell me that I have a warranty that is expiring, I don’t have a vehicle,” Payton said. “I’ve blocked so many numbers from my phone I’ve actually had to put in an app.”
Whether manually blocking calls through phone settings or through the Do Not Call Registry, it may not be enough. Garr said that sometimes you have fight back a little harder. Garr is behind a New Jersey company that believes it’s found a solution to help put the scammers out of business.
Robokiller blocks over 200,000 telemarketers and robocalls from ringing, even if they are spoofing or changing their numbers. The app blocks scam calls before they reach you, and keeps them on the line.
"Over a million numbers are automatically blocked so these scammers call you your phone won't even ring," Garr said. "You'll get a notification from us saying hey we have blocked a call on your behalf but, what is happening is that in the background the call that we blocked we are intercepting we are sending it to our servers and putting these answer bots to work. These are robots that talk back to the scammers to waste their time."
The answer bots can be pretty funny, you can set them to different voices and accents. Revenge on the people who want to waste your time, giving them a taste of their own medicine.
The Robokiller app is free for seven day trial and then it’s $3.99 a month. If you have a landline call your carrier, they may have a blocking system. Another tip, f you don’t recognize a number don’t answer it. If you do accidentally answer, don’t speak to the person. If you do, you are engaging with them and they will keep calling.
For more information on Robokiller, click or tap here.