Scams

Don’t Expect an End to Robocalls

A new pact will reduce but not eliminate incessant phone calls.

An agreement reached between state attorneys general and the major telecommunications companies to thwart robocalls is good news for anyone who has a phone. But don’t expect those ubiquitous calls from people claiming to be from the IRS or wanting to sell you low-cost health insurance to disappear.

Under the agreement, telecom companies will provide customers with free call-blocking tools and help attorneys general prosecute robocall offenders. But the pact is voluntary, there is no deadline, and it doesn’t include many small telecom providers. “Any bad guy with a computer can make a boatload of calls,” says Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail, an app that helps block robocalls. “This will help shut them down, but it will not be instantaneous.”

In the interim, consider adopting a belt-and-suspenders approach to deter unwelcome callers. Start by signing up for services your provider has already rolled out. In addition to those tools, consider downloading a third-party app, such as YouMail or RoboKiller. These apps reject calls from dodgy numbers.

Quilici predicts that over time, the new call-blocking tools, combined with efforts to prosecute offenders, “should make the problem become more of a nuisance as opposed to the catastrophe it is now.

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