Most of us have been pestered by robocalls.
“We get about 40 a week,” says Bob Jacobsen.
Many of them scams. This year alone, Americans have received over 54 billion of them, up from 48 billion last year.
“I get calls about loans, student loans, I get calls about IRS, Social Security,” says Richard Sinay, a Palm Desert resident.
“They say there might be something free in the beginning of it but at the end they always want to say, ‘oh well you can make a donation of so and so if you have your credit card handy’ … they’re irritating,” says Ryan Dunlop from Indian Wells.
“Suspicious activity with my Social Security and then they proceed to go on for me to put in my Social Security,” says Jacob Avena from Bermuda Dunes.
They have a way of getting under our skin
“It’s annoying because they call constantly about inane stupid things that they want you to do,” says Jacobsen.
But a bill called the “Traced Act” just passed in the House of Representatives and has bipartisan support that could put a stop to robocalls. It requires phone companies to verify where calls are coming from, lets customers block them for free and has stiff penalties for those who violate the law both with criminal prosecutions and thousands in fines.
Congressman Raul Ruiz, (D-CA), says he supports the bill, “Robocalls are annoying. What’s worse, is that many are targeted to seniors as scams that can cause financial harm. I voted for the TRACED Act to better protect seniors and families from unwanted robocalls.”
“I’m thrilled … long overdue,” says Jacobsen with a chuckle.
They’re not just annoying, they swindle Americans out of millions of dollars every year.
And while some sound convincing, law enforcement warms people never to give your your Social Security number, credit card, bank account or any information over the phone. They also warn against giving people payments with gift cards. These are all scams and they increase over the holiday season. Stay vigilant, ignore the calls or just hang up.