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Fighting back against robocalls- still a work in progress but here are things you can do

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SEATTLE -- In August, consumers received more than 4.2 billion robocalls. Many came from scammers trying to trick you out of money.

Scam robocalls usually offer some sort of product and want you to either wire money from a bank account into their account, or go to a store, pick up a pre-loaded credit card, and send them money that way.

According to one study, scam calls will account for nearly half of all mobile calls by 2019. A lot of these calls come from the same area code as your phone, so you might assume it’s a friend or someone you know and answer it.

It’s a common trick called “spoofing.” That’s when robocall scammers disguise their phone number to look like one that comes from your local area.

New technology with called Shaken/Stir could help. Shaken/Stir technology is being developed by phone providers as a way to sift out spoofed calls. Still, it could be years before you see the benefits of this new technology.

In the meantime, Consumer Reports editors say here are some of the best ways to fight robocalls:

List your phone number with the national Do Not Call Registry to make sure legitimate telemarketers keep off their call lists. Remember, scammers don't care about the law, so don't waste your time asking a scammer to put your on the Do Not Call list. In fact, if you're already on the Do Not Call Registry and get a robocall pitching a product, service, vacation, or threat- that's a clear sign of a scam. Hang up!

Ask your phone company whether it offers an advanced robocall-blocking service. Most major companies now offer some sort of blocking service for a fee of around $3 to $4 per month. Feedback on effectiveness is mixed, but for the most part the services appear to block a substantial number of unwanted calls.

Also consider using a call-blocking app. Nomorobo, Hiya, and PrivacyStar, among others, offer call-protection options.

Another way to fight back is to report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission. Just write down the number and report the unwanted call online at donotcall.gov.

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