Consumer Alert: Stopping spam phone calls

Anyone who has ever used a telephone may have noticed an increase in the amount of robocalls that they have received.
A new report found that less than 4 percent of calls in 2017 were robot calls. The number increased to nearly 30 percent so far in 2018.
Experts say that the amount of unwanted calls may even get worse within the next year – with nearly half of calls made to cell phones in the United States to be scams.
“If you get a call on your landline or your cellphone or whatever it is, and you don’t recognize the number, don’t pick up,” says Melissa Companick with the Better Business Bureau.
She says, “Once you pick it up, it's flagged as an active number and your number can be shared or even sold to other scammers, and then the calls multiply and multiply.”
Experts say that scammers have gotten more sophisticated and often use spoof phone numbers that may it seems as if the call is local.
There are some ways to stop mobile apps to stop unwanted calls. Each work a little differently and most are not free.
Robokiller – Based in New Jersey, it automatically blocks calls from known spam numbers. It costs $24.95 a year.
Nomorobo – An app that is free for landlines and costs $1.99 a month for cellphones.
Truecaller – An app with a free version that includes ads. A paid version costs $18 a year.
Hiya – A free app that does not block calls, but lets the user know that the call is probably spam.