LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WRIC)—If you own a phone, chances are you've been a victim of annoying robotic telemarketing calls. As it turns out, being on the National Do Not Call list doesn't always protect you.
Robo-calls that say things like, "It is urgent that you contact us concerning your eligibility for lowering your interest rates; your eligibility expires shortly," can appear to represent your bank or credit card company. But in reality, many of them are just trolling for personal information.
Sarah Caleb, a La Vergne, Tenn. resident and mother of five, is on the National Do Not Call Registry, but the calls keep coming in.
"Having children, I feel like I need to answer the phone, ‘cause there could be an emergency, and then when it's a telemarketer, it's very frustrating," Caleb said. "My husband's getting calls on his phone. I'm getting calls on my phone. It's obvious that they're just all over you all the time. It's extremely annoying."
Sarah is one of thousands of middle Tennesseans and millions of Americans who are fed up with these calls. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly four million complaints about telemarketers in 2012 alone.
How are telemarketers getting around the Do Not Call list? Dr. Sachin Shetty, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tennessee State University, says technology is the answer.
"Basically, allows anybody with a computer and Internet to make phone calls," Shetty said.
Free services available to just about anybody allow someone to make hundreds, or even thousands of robo-calls, simply with the click of a mouse.
Scammers and spammers can attach fake numbers to the caller ID, and make themselves seem like a legitimate company.
"And that's one of the reasons consumers should be concerned about," Shetty said. "How any information that they provide, their address or any personal information can be used by any companies."
For this reason, it is crucial to keep personal information personal. The bad news is, there's no end in sight to those pesky robo-calls.
"You know, I feel like that's personal information; my phone number is my personal information," Caleb said. "If I choose to give it to someone, that's fine. But if I don't, then they shouldn't have it."
Even though they're annoying, the best way to deal with robo-calls is to not answer incoming calls from unfamiliar numbers, and to never give out your personal information.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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