A number pops up on your phone. It’s not in your address book, but the area code is from your hometown. Convinced it must be real, you pick it up. You know what happens next. None of us are strangers to robocalls these days.
You might have wised up, but that doesn’t make the calls — that now roll in with increased frequency — any less annoying. And we have some bad news for you: they’re about to get worse. That’s because the American Action Network (AAN), which is allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan, announced that it’s going to start making one million robocalls in 45 congressional districts in an attempt to garner support for the Trump tax plan. States targeted in the campaign include California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. They’ve even released a list of all the districts targeted, so you can check to see if you can expect the phone to ring.
“The White House and congressional leaders have a bold plan that puts Americans first by cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses. Today, we are calling one million people across the country to make their voices heard and urge their representative to deliver a tax code that is simple, fair, and cuts taxes,” Corry Bliss, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
Yes, you read that right. One million people are being called today, Thursday, September 28.
But first, what are robocalls?
Generally they’re scammers — although as you see above, they can also be political campaigns — that call you through the internet, which allows them to change their real phone numbers to look as if they’re coming from your area code. Sneaky. Unfortunately, robocall software that enables this is widely available online for free.
No matter where you stand on the Trump tax plan, we’re guessing you’d rather not receive a robocall urging you to act either way. But what can you do to avoid it?
Robocalls: How to stop them
We’ve got you covered on this one. But whatever you do, don’t press one — unless you’re eager for an onslaught of robocalls in the future. Pressing one for more information signals the software, confirming that you’re a real, living, breathing human being that will engage with these calls. Often, when you take an action on a robocall, your information is stored and can then be sold to other companies — who will doubtlessly be eager to get in touch with you, since you already proved you’re open to hearing more.
Instead, ignore the call and add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. Then, like almost everything else in modern life, there’s an app for that. Nomorobo, available on iPhone and coming soon to Android, will hang up on robocalls for you to spare you the bother. It will set you back $1.99 per month, but you’ll get a 30-day free trial and spare yourself the tooth grinding. Or you can opt for YouMail, which is available for iPhone and Android, a service that automatically tells telemarketers and robocalls that your number is out of service so they don’t try calling back again later.