ANDY'S CONSUMER TIP OF THE DAY: reliable robocall-blocking apps

Updated: Nov. 7, 2017 at 3:23 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mr. Number.

Call Bliss.

Blacklist Plus.

They have clever names and even better performances in blocking robocalls, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI).

"With more and more Tennesseans being badgered by these robocalls, the department's Division of Consumer Affairs is sharing information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on mobile phone apps that can help consumers combat robocalls," said TDCI's Communications Director Kevin Walters.

The app recommendations come from CTIA, a trade group for the wireless communications industry:

* Click here for robocall-blocking apps for iPhones.

* Click here for robocall-blocking apps for Android phones.

* Click here for robocall-blocking apps for Windows phones.

* Click here for robocall-blocking apps for Blackberry phones.

You can also find links to video step-by-step instructions for robocall-blocking assistance on each of these phones here.

Walters said the apps should let you:

* Pre-screen your calls before the phone rings.

* Block certain types of calls, including calls that others have flagged as fraudulent or unwanted.

* Block anonymous calls that show up as "unknown."

* Use reverse look-up to detect fake caller ID information from call spoofing.

Some of the apps are free. Others will cost you.

One defense that is always free: stop answering calls you don't recognize on your caller ID, even if the area code or prefix is familiar. These are robocalls, which means a spoofing machine (faking the area code and number) is randomly and automatically generating the calls. When you answer, you confirm to the machine that yours is a legitimate number. Even if you don't fall for the robocall, the scam operator will sell you number on mass-marketing lists to other telemarketers and scammers. The call volume will increase.

Your best defense is don't answer. The less you answer, the more the calls will taper off. A scammer will not continue to keep your number in the call rotation if it doesn't lead to a human interaction.

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