Live 5 Scambusters: Avoiding those annoying robocalls

Live 5 Scambusters: Avoiding those annoying robocalls

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Robocalls have reached an epidemic level and, despite new laws and legal victories, you are still the best defense against these annoying calls.

The Federal Trade Commission just announced the takedown of four large robocall operations. New laws make certain robocalls illegal and the FTC is going after the offenders, but that won’t stop the calls right now.

“The problem is global and the laws that they can make are for people who follow the laws,” said Ethan Garr with the spam blocking app, RoboKiller. “It’s very hard to enforce laws against people who don’t care about your laws.”

Spam blocking apps like RoboKiller, Truecaller, Nomorobo, Hiya and others are fighting a digital epidemic. Almost 5.4 billion robocalls were made across the country in February according to RoboKiller. That’s about 21 spam calls person.

The problem is even greater in the Lowcountry, where 31.6 million spam calls were made to the 843 area code. That equals 26 calls per person which is higher than the national average.

“If they are getting good results in your area, as far as scamming people out of their money, they’re going to keep hammering those area codes as much as they can,” Garr said.

RoboKiller also uses answer bots to interact with spam callers and keep them on the line. Garr says these answer bots kept spam callers on the line for a 104 thousand hours in February. That’s 104 thousand hours they weren’t bothering someone else.

Some apps are free, while others like RoboKiller come with a subscription. The apps use algorithms to filter out spam calls or alert you to possible fraud. If you do pick up a robocall, hang up the phone and don’t push any buttons to remove yourself from a list. If you press a button you acknowledge the call and you’re actually more likely to be called again.

The FTC has more tips on avoiding robocalls here.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.