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Areas of the Valley with highest robocalls, how to stop them

Posted at 4:37 AM, Sep 18, 2018

Does it feel like your phone never stops ringing? It turns out, it is not your imagination.

Robocalls are on the rise in Arizona and new numbers are showing just how much your phone may be ringing off the hook. 

The data was compiled by YouMail Robocall Index by area code.

For example, for people living in spots like Glendale, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe with a phone number starting with the area code '602,' they went from receiving roughly 13,900,000 robocalls in August of 2017, to over 24,800,000 robocalls in August of this year. The average person received 20 calls from scammers last month. 

That trend is a common thread among the other area codes represented in our state, as well. 

"We're on pace right now to almost double the total number of robocalls for the calendar year," said Executive Director of the Public Interest Research Group Diane Brown.

ABC15 asked Brown why our state has seen such a surge in recent years. 

A new report by mobile phone security company First Orion predicts that by next year, nearly half the calls you get on your phone will be from scammers.

Nationally, in 2017, robocalls were up by just about 4%. But, this year, robocalls have jumped nearly 30%. 

Brown believes technology is a big part of the blame. 

"There are auto-dialers that can basically program people to get phone calls... and they'll just crank out time and time and time again," Brown explained. 

The plan of attack by scammers is also different now. 

We usually know to ignore blocked calls or calls coming from unfamiliar area codes.

But, now they have started doing something called 'neighborhood spoofing' and that is where they make an incoming call appear as if it is from your area code. That makes you believe that you recognize the number and are therefore more likely to pick up the phone. 

Another bizarre trick being used is scammers using your own number to make it look like you are calling yourself. The end game is to confuse you enough to get you to answer. 

Arizona Attorney Mark Brnovich encourages victims of these random robocalls to contact their office and report these scammers. That way, they can open an investigation. 

"What we're doing is, we're looking at the number of complaints we get," Brnovich explained. "And then we're cross-referencing them on the national 'Do Not Call' list to see if there are companies who are habitual and systematically violating the do not call list and we're going after them."

The more complaints they receive on a specific company, the more it helps build their case against the violator. 

The Attorney General's office said, earlier this year, they settled a lawsuit with an Arizona-based carpet cleaning service for making scam calls. The company must pay $1,000,000 in civil penalties and is not allowed to make any telemarketing calls for the next six years.

Back in April, the office also explained how another valley business had to pay nearly $350,000 in civil penalties for violating the 'Do Not Call List.'

Brnovich suggests registering online with the 'Do Not Call List,' if you have not already. 

To file a complaint with their office, you can call their Phoenix office at (602) 542-5763 or file one online here.