TAKING ACTION: You may start getting spam robocalls directly to voicemail

Taking Action
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Robocalls are on the rise nationwide, and have been for the past year according to Elizabeth Garcia, President and CEO of the BBB of North Alabama.

If you’re fed up with those, you may be even more annoyed about another round of robocalls — this time sent directly to consumers’ voicemail boxes.

“There have been reports of businesses and consumers who have gotten very angry, reasonably so, that their voicemail is starting to be clogged up with these types of calls,” said Garcia. “The telephone never rang on their line, yet they go to their voicemail and they find these calls.”

Garcia said this has not yet hit Alabama, but it will as scammers continue to see it working around the country.

“This is relatively new. It has been happening for a while, but it hasn’t caught on quite as big yet. But it will make the rounds,” said Garcia. “Our goal is to alert consumers locally about what is happening around the nation.”

She explained that it is so new federal regulators are still trying to decide what, if anything, to do about it.

“There has been discussion about, should the federal government come up with ways to block that? Should we make laws against it? What do we need to do?” she said. “It is in the very early stages of discussion.”

She explained what you should do if you get one of these spam voicemails. Right now, proponents say it is not necessarily breaking any Do Not Call Registry rules because there is not an actual call taking place.

“Since there isn’t a particular law necessarily passed against this new technology, it is best to simply report it to the FTC. Tell them how you feel about that technology and how it affects you as a consumer or a business owner.”

As far as typical robocalls that still cause your phone to ring, Garcia said it is very possible the ones you are getting are using a local area code to fool you into picking up.

“Anybody can buy a number. Any number they want. Wherever they live. They might live in Europe, but they can look like they live down the street.”

Some people are also turning to Google Play to find apps that may help guard against robocalls. One example is called NoMoRobo.

Garcia said it is a good idea to check out any app thoroughly, before you download anything.

“And then make sure you check your permissions so you aren’t giving out any more private information than you need to,” she advised.