Updated: March 19, 2021 06:05 PM
Created: March 19, 2021 05:35 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Today's consumer alert focuses on a threat that's music to the ears of anybody with a phone, “We’re coming for you.” That's what the Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, said to those scamming robocallers who keep bugging us all hours of the day and night.
That's not an empty threat. This week, the FCC levied the biggest fine in the history of the agency against a pair of truly terrible Texas telemarketers, $225 million.
One of the robocalls features a friendly female voice that says “Hi this is Sarah from Health Insurance Service. I'm calling you back about your health insurance coverage. We have a few new products that fit more in line with your budget…"
Sarah sounds sweet and trustworthy. But there was nothing sweet about those calls. She was peddling lousy, short-term insurance plans. This scheme was the brainchild of two Texas scoundrels who admit to having made a billion robocalls in less than five months. And here's what's really despicable. They purposely targeted people on the Do Not Call list because they said it was more profitable.
They were using an illegal technique called call spoofing. They would make the number of legitimate insurers appear on your phone - Insurers like Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and United. But they had no affiliation with those insurers, and the so-called policies they were selling were useless.
Here's the good news. You can stop crooks like them from calling you. The FCC has mandated that by June, all phone providers must have technology in place to identify call spoofing and robocalls. Until then, here's what you can do. If you have an iPhone, there’s a built-in feature to send any unknown number straight to voicemail. Here’s how you set that up.
The phone will ring if the number is in your contacts. If it’s not, it will go straight to voice mail.
You can also download a free spam filter on your cell phone offered by your provider. Here's a list.
According to our friends with Consumer Reports, these are some of the best call blocking apps.
If you have VOIP at your home, a Voice Over Internet Provider, you have a good option called Nomorobo. It's great technology this guy in Long Island invented in his bedroom. For Spectrum Voice customers, Nomorobo is free.
If you have Frontier, Nomorobo costs $2 a month.
Lastly, for folks who have a good ol' trusty analog copper landline, you have to buy a call blocker.
Consumer Reports says they work fairly well.
Now you may ask, which one do I buy? I've researched for you. A recent study indicates about 61% of reviews are fake. So I used the tools, Fakespot and Reviewmeta and found the top four devices with authentic reviews on Amazon. Click here to see them.
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