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'We've Been Trying To Reach You:' Robocalls Soar During Pandemic, How To Avoid Them

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - While much has slowed during the pandemic robocalls have not.

If anything, they've increased.

The Federal Trade Commission says leading the way is the "extend your car warranty call."

"If you receive a phone call stating that your car warranty is about to expire, if you're being offered any type of extended warranty, the Better Business Bureau is really urging people to use caution," said Caitlin Driscoll of the Better Business Bureau.

Driscoll says while some of the calls are pure scams.

"These car warranties scams, often attempt to trick people into buying unnecessary or sometimes even nonexistent vehicle service contracts," she explained. "If you pick up the phone and you get a recorded sales pitch. Hang up the phone because the call is illegal."

And you are told to report the number and content to the PA Attorney General's office and or the Federal Trade Commission.

WATCH: Blocking and Avoiding Robocalls

So what can you do to stop the aggravation?

"Make sure your phone number is registered on the Do Not Call list because legitimate telemarketers consult that list," Driscoll said. "They're required to avoid contacting both landline and wireless phone numbers that are registered on that list."

If you haven't checked the list lately you might want to. While your entry is supposed to be permanent in some cases numbers have been purged.

Driscoll says there are also call blocking apps you can download to your phone but be careful.

"For example with a call blocking app permissions may be necessary to provide all of the contacts in your phone book, or it could be a concern if the app is also requiring access to your text messages and other information that may not actually be necessary to provide that service," she warned.

For Android users anytime you get a robocall, go into your phone and block that number. iPhone users can go to settings, select 'Phone', then 'silence unknown callers and make sure that is turned on. That will automatically send to voice mail any call from a number that is not in your contacts or that you have not reached out to either by phone or text.

As for blocking apps, a critical point to consider is how often they update their software.

Robocallers regularly switch numbers and mask them as local numbers. So you may block the number coming from Turtle Creek only to get the next call from Oakmont.

The best thing to do if you get a call from an unknown number decline it, or just let it go to voicemail.

If you answer you are telling the robocall computer that your number is a place to find a live person and the number of calls will only increase.

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