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Scam call? Just hang up

Robocalls are annoying at best, and potentially costly at worst. And they’re becoming more frequent. One call-blocking company estimates Americans received 48 billion robocalls in 2018.

Government agencies and phone companies are responding to consumer frustration by vowing to take meaningful action, but that will take time, and it may never eliminate all unwanted calls. Consumers must take action themselves to avoid falling victim to scams.

Automated phone calling systems are getting more sophisticated, for instance, by making it appear the call is coming from a government office such as the Social Security Administration. Other illegal marketing calls appear to come from a local number or one somewhere else in the state, when the real source may be overseas.

If you’re not sure about a call, simply hang up. Never give anyone your Social Security number or other identifying information over the phone.

A rash of scam calls pretending to come from the Social Security Administration has local residents on edge. Callers claim to be Social Security employees and probe aggressively for people’s identifying information.

Last week, 12 telephone companies announced an agreement with all 51 state attorneys general aimed at combating robocalls. The companies will provide free call-blocking technology to customers, implement technology to authenticate calls and monitor networks for robocall traffic.

That’s good, but you can be sure the scammers will come up with new ways to evade this technology and continue to prey on consumers. That’s why it’s essential that everyone becomes their own best defender: Just hang up.

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