Consumer Reports: Tips for fighting robocalls

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Consumer Reports: Tips to stop robocalls - Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on September 6, 2017. (WPVI)

Back in June, a federal judge ordered Dish Network to pay a $280 million dollar fine for making millions of illegal robocalls to numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

And the problem has gotten worse.

Many of us are now getting bombarded by these calls, some of which go straight to our cell phones, but there are things you can do to stop robocalls.

Carol Berkow gets a lot of robocalls on her cell phone.

"I get about five or six robocalls per week. The area codes are from all over the country. I have a baby and I'm always concerned it could be something about the baby," she said.

A recent Consumer Reports survey shows at least 62 percent of AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon customers reported six or more robocalls per week.

And now, consumers are getting even more of these aggravating messages right in their voicemail.

"We're hearing about ringless voicemail where calls are directly deposited into consumers voice mail boxes without the phone ever ringing. They can fill up your voicemail inbox and block important messages, which is why we believe it's important that consumers have protections from them," said Margot Gilman, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

For calls that aren't bypassing the ring, phone carriers are now offering different tools to help.

At&T has a free app for its customers that automatically blocks scam calls for iPhone 6 and higher and for Androids that can use AT&T HD Voice.

T-Mobile also offers free scam call-blocking.

And Sprint and Verizon have apps that display the caller's name on your incoming screen for callers who are not already in your Contacts List.

Verizon has also made it easier to sign up with the popular robocall blocker, Nomorobo.

Consumer Reports recommends that consumers do closely evaluate what kind of information they're willing to disclose to prevent robocalls, so look at the terms and conditions when signing up.

"Every time it happens I kind of yell into the phone 'unsubscribe!' And that of course doesn't work. It's frustrating that I don't have any recourse to deal with these calls or to make them stop," said Berkow.

But now Berkow knows she does have some recourse and another way consumers can fight back - report robocalls to the FTC.

Just write down the number and enter it at: Complaints.DoNotCall.Gov.

To learn more about the steps you can take to protect yourself from robocalls, visit EndRobocalls.org

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