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Robocall battle increases during tax season

Scammers targeting people through spoofed numbers
Posted at 6:12 AM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 15:10:25-05

DENVER -- Let’s face it. We are getting more and more robocalls. Some of these calls bogging down our phones are showing up as numbers that may seem familiar, giving hackers more access to getting in touch with us.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office said these robocalls are going through spoofed numbers, and because of this, you need to be even more careful in screening your calls and only answer if it is someone you know.

Consumer protection experts said new technology is making identity spoofing very easy to do. The scammers like to spoof numbers to make it look like they are calling from the IRS, somewhere local to where you live or a reputable business.

Experts said sometimes, the telephone number may show up as "unknown" or "123456789.” Other times, the number is a real one belonging to someone who has no idea his or her number is being misused. Robocallers often place the calls through internet technology that hides their location.

So, what do you do if you receive a robocall?

Consumer protection experts recommend you not answer the call if the number looks in any way unfamiliar. If you do pick up, experts said hang up immediately, do not say anything and do not press numbers to get more information about the caller. This could result in you getting even more robocalls in the future.

Sites such as YouMail and Nomorobo can help block robocalls. YouMail offers a free service for robocall blocking and voice services. Nomorobo offers a free trial period. Experts recommend you also check with your phone carrier to see what services the company offers to help screen robocalls.

If you believe you have received a robocall or want to report telemarketing fraud, you can file a complaint with the Colorado No Call Registry and the Federal Do Not Call Registry.

The Attorney General’s office said if you have received robocalls about candidates running for office, or charities asking for donations, these robocalls are allowed. However, if the recording is a sales message and you haven't given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam.