Robocalls are more than a nuisance. They are becoming more common, and many times, the calls can lead to identity theft and worse.
The Federal Trade Commission received over 4 million robocall complaints in 2017 alone, the most in American history.
“I’ve literally considered changing my number because I would get an obscene amount of spam calls,” Jae Harrison Patterson said.
Patterson understands the pain. As a small business owner and mother of two small children, she doesn't have much time to waste.
“It used to be that you’d just see a number from Saudi Arabia, and you’d be like, ‘That’s clearly not for me,’ and just not answer it, but they’ve gotten slick, and they are numbers that are really close to mine,” Patterson said.
It’s stories like Patterson’s that keep Ethan Garr and the team that created RoboKiller motivated to stop the calls. The app is a way to avoid robocalls and get a little revenge at the same time.
“RoboKiller stops those calls from ever reaching your phone, but what's unique about it is it actually answers those calls using answer bots,” said Garr. “When they go to work, their job is to waste the spammers time, and they’re really good at it. Sometimes we've kept scammers on the phones for as long as 45-50 minutes at a time.”
That's time the scammers are not spending harassing other people. You do not have to use one of the generic bots RoboKiller offers. You can also create your own.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I know what will be annoying, make [my] own with my babies’ laughs,’” Patterson said. “You get to deal with what I deal with. It’s me trying to juggle babies and answer the phone. So welcome to my world.”
The app also uses a technology called audio fingerprinting which means RoboKiller will remember a scammers voice even if they call from a different number.
Patterson told Channel 2 the app has been a game changer.
“I’m not exaggerating when I say I went from dozens of calls a day to maybe one every few days,” Patterson said.
The app offers a one-week free trial. Users then have the option to subscribe monthly for $2.99 or yearly for $24.99.
Channel 2 Consumer Advisor Clark Howard also recommends to use as many tools as possible to block the calls. Other apps he suggests include: Hiya, Nomorobo, and YouMail. It may also be worth reaching out to your cell phone carrier. Companies such as T-Mobile use technology to protect customers from receiving robocalls.
If you don't recognize the call, don't answer!
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.