AS HEARD ON: WTAG – Robocalls are on the increase and what you can do: AS HEARD ON – WTAG NewsRadio 580 [07-25-17]

On This Episode…

2.5 billion spam robocalls in the month of June alone?

Joining Jim to find out more about the what are robocalls, how it affects consumers and businesses, what to do about them, and why is FCC serious about ending it.


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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.


Airing date: 07/25/2017

Robocalls on the Increase – What can you Do



Craig Peterson: Two and a half billion spam robocalls in the month of June alone, that’s what I’ve talked with Jim about this morning so stick around. I think you’re going to enjoy this.


Jim Polito: He’s here. I’m talking about our Tech Talk guru and the man who’s got all the answers. Our friend, Craig Peterson. Good morning sir.


Craig: Hey, good morning.


Jim: Boy, you hit a nerve. So you sent along the stuff to me and Danny. And so we’re looking at and things like if you noticed you’re getting all these robocalls too? And I said yeah. I said Craig’s on it because I’m getting robocall after robocall. And I swear Craig, Cathy taught me how to block a phone number on my cellphone and I don’t think it’s working because I keep getting this thing about a home security system recording, and I mean, and I’m on the Do Not Call list. What’s going on?


Craig: Yeah. Well, I hate to say this Jim. It’s really weird, I know. And I know you’re sitting down right now. So that’s good news but…


Jim: As far as you know, yeah.


Craig: It turns out that the Do Not Call list of the federal government legislation and laws and rules, at least in this case, completely backfired. It’s rare, I know.


Jim: Yeah. Indeed. Very rare.


Craig: Yeah. And so here’s what happened. A lot of people went ahead and put their numbers on the Do Not Call list because, of course, congress was going to stop this problem of people making phone calls that were unwanted.


Jim: Right.


Craig: And so, how does it work? Just think this through for just a second here.


Jim: Ok.


Craig: If there’s a list of people who don’t want to be called…


Jim: Yeah.


Craig: How do you let the callers know who’s on the list?


Jim: You have to give them the numbers.


Craig: You have to give them the numbers.


Jim: And then so these guys take it.


Craig: And they have a list of numbers that are known to work. Ok? So now they have a whole list of numbers. They know these are good numbers. They don’t have to just randomly or sequentially dial numbers. All they have to do is pick up the list and dial. So for a little while, it worked. And robocalls were down. Absolutely unwanted solicitor calls were down. All of those things were down.


Jim: Ok.


Craig: Because people were afraid of it.


Jim: Right.


Craig: So, step one, what happened was wait a minute. The FCC, right? They could come after me in the where? The United States of America.


Jim: The United States of America.


Craig: I’ve got call centers in India. I’ve got call centers in the Philippines. I’ve got call centers all over the world. The FCC cannot stop me from calling in from outside of the United States. So immediately, what started happening is there was a gold mine here, of all of these people who are registered on the Do Not Call list, who now they knew were available for phone calls, whether it was a cellphone or not. Now the law says, oh you can’t call cellphones and blah, blah. There are exceptions, you know. They let people make political calls.


Jim: Oh of course. When the politicians pass a law, they’re going to exclude themselves from it.


Craig: Yeah. Another oddity, isn’t it?


Jim: Yeah. Is that unusual?


Craig: It’s very unusual.


Jim: Yeah.


Craig: So they excluded themselves. They could make all of the calls they wanted. And debt collectors can make all of the calls they wanted. And certain types of polls and things, which also, of course they in the politics can make any calls that they wanted to. So this 1991 act restricted from calling you. And you had to give permission. There had to be a business relationship and if you signed up, like at a local drug store, for their frequent flyer program, that would be just fine. And they couldn’t call you unless you checked the little box.


Jim: Right.


Craig: And, you know, it kind of worked. Kind of didn’t work. Now, obviously, it’s not working. We’re talking about over two and a half billion estimated robocalls per month right now. And they’re coming through to our cellphones as well as coming through to our landlines for those of us who still have landline phones. So it’s really, really a big deal. And just last week, the FCC voted to fine a new Mexican company 2.88 million dollars for making unlawful robocalls. And last month, yeah, you think that’s a lot? They fined a Florida resident 120 million dollars for allegedly making almost a hundred million illegal robocalls over a 3 month period.


Jim: Wow.


Craig: So I think they fine about a buck a call.


Jim: Ok, that’s still… so what do I do?


Craig: Oh yes. So what do I do? It’s always about us, right? What’s the matter with the government here? The government has feelings too. And so does these robocallers, you know.


Jim: Oh please.


Craig: They got to put money on the table. Well I could tell you what I do.


Jim: Ok, that’s going to be the best answer.


Craig: I’m going to put together a list here on my website and I’ll send you a link of some of these apps. I use apps. Now with android and iOS both.


Jim: Yup.


Craig: There’s a way to block these robocalls. The bill collectors who are calling you because they got the wrong number, right?


Jim: Yup.


Craig: Etcetera. Etcetera. So I use an app called Hiya. H-I-Y-A. That’s the one I use on my phone. That’s what my family uses. And what happens is the call comes into your phone, your phone immediately calls the app and says hey, this number’s calling, what do you want to do? And it will tag it as a spam call, which is a robocall.


Jim: Oh wow.


Craig: And in my case, I have Hiya just send it right to voice mail.


Jim: Ok, now listen. I would do that. Now here’s my question. So I have that app. It’ll screen them for me. My question is, does it add extra time to, like getting the call? You know what I mean?


Craig: That’s less than a second.


Jim: Oh, ok.


Craig: It is really, really fast because the app itself loads in the list so it doesn’t have to go out to the internet to get the information. It’s just right there. It’s free. It gives automatic spam detection. It does reverse phone lookup, which is kind of handy. It also ties in to LinkedIn. So if someone’s calling you, you know on your cellphone, you don’t usually get caller id.


Jim: Right.


Craig: It puts it in there. It gives a spam check dialer. It has blacklist numbers. It lets you report spam. It lets you blacklist numbers. And it’s entirely free. H-I-Y-A. But there’s dozens of them now and as I said, I’m going to put a list up on my website, a couple of links to places that have all these great list.


Jim: Ok. Would you…


Craig: And I’ll send it out. But it stops them.


Jim: If people text my name to that number, will they eventually able to get that information?


Craig: Yeah. I’ll be sending out a little later this morning.


Jim: Ok, let’s do this then. Folks, if that’s driving you crazy like it’s driving me crazy and it’s driving Danny crazy, here’s what we’ll do. Text my name, Jim, J-I-M to this number. And Craig, please say it twice.


Craig: Alright, it’s 855-385-5553. So 855-385-5553.


Jim: Ok. Now. If they do that, look folks. Don’t worry there. He’s not going to pester you. He’s not going to turn into a spammer. He’s the anti-spammer. He’ll be able to give you the help that you need, and the information you need to be able to stop this annoying interruption. Standard data and text rates apply. Craig, I got to tell you. You’re a huge help today as you are always and we look forward to talking with you next week.


Craig: Hey, thanks Jim. Take care.


Jim: Alrighty. Bye-bye. Do you hear that folks? Problem solved.


Craig: As a bit of postscript, I have to add that that article is available up on my website now. Just check it out, All kinds of information. Dozens and dozens of apps. I even added a list of apps for your Blackberry. So if you’re using a Blackberry, they’re there as well. Take care. Have a great day.



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