"All day at work, even through the night! I get them all the time." Evelyn Lewis is talking about those annoying robocalls we all get. Like many people, she says she's begun receiving even more of them. Millions of automated calls go out every day. A recent study from ByYou Mail shows more than 185 million robocalls have gone out to 205 area codes so far this year.
Legitimate businesses find it's a cheaper way to reach more potential customers. But, for scammers, it's an easy way to rake in billions of dollars.
David Smitherman, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central & Southern Alabama, says one of the most effective ways of decreasing robocalls is simple: do not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. It can lead to more unwanted phone calls.
"And by all means, do not engage with these people. Once they realize they've got a live number, they sell it to other people."
Also, adding your number to the national Do Not Call registry will decrease some unwanted robocalls. Legitimate businesses tend to honor the registry. But, scammers will not.
Lastly, have your phone carrier block unwanted numbers. While some scammers may simply contact you from a different phone number, you can still avoid answering their calls.
Finally, remember those forms you complete in stores and online? Be sure to read the small print before providing your contact information.
"There may be language in there that says they reserve the right to sell your information for marketing purposes," says Smitherman.