LUBBOCK, TX — Just about everyone with a phone knows the feeling. You pick up a call, and it’s a robotic voice wanting something .
“If you have a phone, be it a landline or a cellphone or both, you’re going to probably get [robocalls] sooner or later,” Greg Linder, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the South Plains, said.
Experts like Linder said these largely “illegal” robocalls are back on the rise, and callers are getting even more aggressive. Linder said both the pandemic and the upcoming election are to blame.
He attributed the spike to callers knowing that people are bored and trapped at home, and with two only months until the election, candidates are constantly campaigning through constituents’ phones.
In January, President Trump signed a law that cracked down on companies that continued to use robocalls. Despite this and other increased efforts by the government and heads of industry to circumvent these pesky calls, callers have gotten more creative to reach consumers.
At times, they call using local area codes or even the person’s own phone number.
For Brenda Fisher, it’s a daily irritation. She said that she gets at least three to five spam calls a day in addition to multiple texts, calls and emails regarding the election.
“[One call] caught me at a bad moment, and I was just like ‘Oh my gosh, leave me alone!’ I don’t want any more of these, quit trying to convince me,” Fisher said.
Fisher added that she’s been fielding both political calls and scammers left and right. She said it’s gotten so bad she almost missed a critical call from her bank.
“I got a call and a text saying that we detected fraud on your account, and I was just like, ‘Yeah right, I’m not going to click on your link,’ but come to find out, it actually was from the bank,” Fisher said.
The BBB says the best way to avoid robocalls involve three simple steps. First, hang up. Second, block the number. Third, if the calls still come, file an online complaint with the FTC.
Turns out, the old quick fix of adding yourself to their “do not call list” may actually make things worse.
“All you’re doing is just telling them that there’s a somewhat cooperative person on the other end of the line and that might prompt them to make actual phone calls with a live person,” Linder said.
For now, frustrated people on the receiving end of robocalls are doing what they can, hanging up and hoping to be left alone soon.
“I get enough emails and enough calls and enough texts. It’s invasive,” Fisher said.