JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – You’ve probably already gotten one today: a call, often from what appears to be a local phone number, but from either someone you don't know or, in most cases, a computer.
It could be a voice offering you free government money, saying you owe money to the Internal Revenue Service or just trying to sell you something that may or may not be legitimate. These calls all have one thing in common: They are unwanted.
More than 24.3 billion robocalls were made to Americans last year, according to robocall blocking service YouMail. That's one in every three phone calls made in America.
"Stop. Just stop," Delores Lowe said.
"So frustrating. I hate it," Kara Reichart said. "(I) don’t even use my phone. Most of what I get are robocalls."
Unfortunately, the number of unwanted calls could increase. First Orion Corp., a company that provides spam call filters to various carriers, predicts that nearly half of calls in 2019 will be robocalls.
While it's probably not possible to stop all unwanted calls to your phone any time soon, there are things you can do to help reduce the number you receive.
If you answer a call and it’s a recording or asks you to press a button, that’s a sign to hang up.
Experts say blocking the numbers won’t really help because they’ll just call you from another number. You can add yourself to the National Do Not Call List.
The Federal Trade Commission, which runs the registry, says it can take time for the list to update, so give it 31 days. It won't stop them all the calls, and you should report any robocalls or scam calls you receive after that.
The four big cellphone carriers all offer customers some form of free automatic and/or manual blocking of unwanted calls.
- AT&T offers free Call Protect app which it said has blocked 365 million fraud calls and labeled over 439 million spam calls. The company is now working on a caller-ID system to root out spoofed numbers.
- Verizon offers a call-filer app for $2.99 per month. It offers robocall filtering, spam blocking and an advanced caller-ID system. Details are to be
- T-Mobile customers can sign up for One Plus for $4.99 per month. The service allows customers to choose categories of nuisance robocalls, like telemarketers and political surveys, to send directly to voicemail. T-Mobile said it flagged over 6.6 billion calls as "scam likely" and blocked more than 1 billion calls.
- Sprint customers can purchase a premium caller-ID service for $3 a month that provides a threat level for each call, based on how suspicious it is.
Outside of what the carriers offer, there are also a number of apps you can download, including some in which you can type in a number and it will search to trace the call:
News4Jax has not tested and cannot endorse any of these services.