How to protect yourself from robocall scams

Robo callers have figured out how to bypass the Do Not Call List.

Rachel is from card services. She's a human-like robot.

It's possible you've heard from her, even if you're on the do-not-call list, because there's a gaping hole in the list, and robo-callers have found a way to slide through.

"A couple of years ago the scammers did not sound like Rachel from card services," said attorney Billy Howard. "They sounded like people that were scamming you."

Howard says the scam's easier than ever to pull off with a laptop and automatic dialing machines that use voice-over-internet phone systems.

"Now I can call literally a million people a day using an autodialer that costs me about 900 dollars," he said.

Scammers evade the do-not-call list by sending bogus number-to-caller IDs and hiding the source. A lot of the calls originate from other countries, out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement.

It's gotten so bad the government convened a Robocall Strike Force of companies working toward a solution, but its first report won't come out for weeks.

What can you do now?

Howard says lots of scammers are third parties hired by legitimate companies -- threaten them.

"'I'm calling the FBI on you. Right when I hang up this phone,'" he said. "And then do it."

The FCC says not to answer a call from a number you don't know. If you accidentally answer, don't hit numbers -- that lets the robot know a human answered.

Register landlines with the FCC-approved website Nomorobo to screen incoming numbers against a database of known spammers.

Nomorobo is available for Androids and iPhones and iOS 10, but because of demand, there is a waiting list.

There are other smart phone apps that will screen out known phone numbers, but most robocalls are from unknown numbers.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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