Annoying robocalls continue to light up our phones on a daily basis, but consumer experts are encouraged by the work being done to stop these calls. News5 takes a deep dive into what's going on with robocalls and steps we can all take to better defend against them.
According to Robokiller, a robocall blocking app, last month more than 5.6 billion robocalls went out that breaks down to about 21 robocalls per person. So, these calls are still a problem, but cell phone carriers and consumers can now do more to stop them.
It's hard to believe, but some experts say we actually saw less robocalls in 2020 thanks to new call-filtering technology and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the statistics were offered in a recent Consumer Reports article.
Robocalls were reportedly down 22-percent in 2020. Some experts say the pandemic shut down international call centers which had an impact. It's believed robocalls were at the lowest level in three years, but with that being said U.S. consumers still received 45.9 billion spam calls last year.
Consumer experts say we should actively check to make sure we're doing everything we can to defend against these calls.
"It all depends on what type of phone you are using. Sometimes you'll need to go through various steps in order to activate the robocall filter tools from your carrier and those can be very helpful," said Octavio Blanco of Consumer Reports.
Reporting suspicious phone numbers to the Federal Trade Commission will also help cell phone carriers and call blocking apps to beef up their defense against these calls.
"They use this list of bad calls to say, ok, this number has been making a lot of bad calls, so we're going to go ahead and block it," said Blanco.
As the endless number of robocalls continue to be connected through call centers overseas, consumer experts say it's time our nation's leaders take some action internationally as well.
"One of the things that really needs to happen is internationally the United States government needs to make treaties with other governments so these other governments can implement some of the technology we're developing so these other governments are incentivized to shut down some of these bad operators within their networks," said Blanco.
There are some specific steps you can consider when bolstering your defense against robocalls.
First, optimize your phone. Many cell phones offer a tool that will allow calls only from numbers in your contact list. You will have to constantly update your contacts to get calls.
Next, make sure you're utilizing your carrier's anti-robocall tools.
Consider downloading call blocking apps, or signing up for additional cell phone carrier call blocking coverage.
In this Consumer Reports article Octavio Blanco explains the steps you can take with specific phones and specific carriers to make sure you're defending against robocalls to the best of your ability.