Phone app gets revenge on scammers, robocalls

Phone app gets revenge on scammers, robocalls

They are relentless, and annoying. Stealing our time, and in some cases, money.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. consumers received 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016 despite the fact that 200 million landline and cell phone numbers are on the National Do not Call Registry.

The FTC says new technology and cheap programs have given scammers an easy way to disguise their numbers through what’s known as “call spoofing.” Scammers can mask their number – sometimes even using a local area code.

A new app called “Robokiller” offers a new remedy – protecting users from 200,000 numbers known to be spammers, scammers, and telemarketers. The phone won’t ring, but app users get a notification that a phone call has been blocked.

However, the app doesn’t just block calls – it answers them using a series of pre-recorded conversations that trick the scammer into thinking someone is on the other end – ultimately wasting their time.

The Robokiller app costs $2.99 per month, or $24.99 annually. So far, it’s only designed for mobile phones – so what about landlines? A free service called “Nomorobo” screens calls using a list of known spam numbers. The program claims to have blocked more than half-a-billion of them.

If you think you’re the target of a phone scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.