What you can do right now to stop robocalls

 

-Thumbnail Photo: NPR.org

Billions of robocalls are vexing Americans — and it's not slowing down.

Many of the unsolicited calls are from scammers pretending to be tax collectors, charities, or salespeople. Short of throwing your phone in the garbage, there's no way to avoid them altogether. But wireless providers and smartphone developers offer tools to filter out at least some unwanted calls.

Not all robocalls are fake or illegal: Pharmacies and utility companies, for example, use the technique to reach customers. You can ban telemarketers by registering with the federal "Do Not Call" list — but that won't stop fake telemarketers or scammers, many of whom have ways to get around spam filters. You can report unsolicited calls to authorities.

Apps and spam filters are far from perfect, and telecom companies are hopeful new call tracing technology will improve their efforts.