We set out to find who are the robocallers, who are the victims, and what can be done to stop the calls.
NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio — They’re kind of like the weather: People complain about robocalls, but no one seems to do anything about them.
From that extended warranty you don’t want to buy, to the arrest warrant threatening you to pay up or go to jail, robocalls run the gamut of nuisances.
Some are legit businesses looking to boost sales, while others are scam artists looking to clean out your bank account.
Regardless, it’s a business based on volume. More calls equals more potential customers. So, these scam artists make millions of calls every day.
“It’s just frustrating, it’s aggravating,” said Andrew.
“It’s just life’s annoying enough without putting up with these other annoyances,” said Chris.
But to Peter Maitzis of North Royalton, these calls only fueled his passion to fight.
“I was outraged, I was mad,” he said.
Whenever he’d get a robocall, he’d swing into action. Regardless of what was happening around him, he made sure to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“I’d drop my fork and knife, run upstairs and put in another complaint,” he said.
He’s done it at least 300 times in the past three years. He started after learning his own mother was scammed for thousands of dollars a month.
Yet, despite his efforts, the calls just keep on coming.
Surveys show one in six adults lose money to phone scams each year, costing the victims an estimated $10.5 billion.
While there’s a Do Not Call List law, legislation has proven toothless. Even for the head of marketing for the Federal Trade Commission.
“I do yeah, I’ve gotten robocalls,” said Will Maxson, FTC Division of Marketing Practices.
While the FTC has failed to curtail the calls, they do offer tips that might help lower the volume of calls you received.
1. Put your number on the FTC’s do not call registry
2. Hang up as soon as you get a robocall and block the number
3. Do not press any numbers during the call because doing so only confirms you have a working number.
The problem is, none of these tips are foolproof.
“It is not going to stop you from getting calls from scammers that are telling you they’re with the IRS or the Social Security administration, you know, those people are engaged in essentially hardcore fraud,” Maxson said.
The FTC is working with the FCC and state attorneys general across the country to stop the calls, including targeting companies that provide the technology used in robocall operations.
Maxson insists that filing a complaint does help in terms of unravelling the algorithms behind the robocalls.
Coming up: If you bought a brand new phone, surely that would free you from robocalls, right? 3News Investigates teamed up with our sister stations across the country to find out. That part of the story Tuesday night at 11p.m. on WKYC 3News. Plus, 3News investigator Rachel Polansky interviews Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, to find out what he’s doing to crack down on robocallers.
Editor’s Note: The below video is from a previously published story