Consumer Reports

Fort Worth Man Fights to Stop Robocalls

North Texans tell us many start getting robocalls as early as eight in the morning, and one viewer who had enough called NBC 5 Responds.

Harvey Lefer is disabled and home much of the day. He's on the state and national Do Not Call lists, but it doesn't seem to matter to the telemarketers. He said fake IRS callers are relentless.

"We get our final notice that the marshals are coming out to get us," he said. "We've gotten that call at least 15 times over the last few months."

Lefer doesn't fall for them, but Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, says telephone schemes are pervasive.

"About $350 million a year — that's our conservative estimate — are lost to telephone scams. Many of those are robocall scams," Consumers Union End Robocalls campaign leader Tim Marvin said.

Marvin said Do Not Call Lists are not much help.

"Unfortunately technology has just gone beyond the Do Not Call List," he said. "Now if you're making automated robocalls, you can make millions for just a matter of seconds for pennies on the dollar."

That's why Lefer wants the big telecommunications companies to develop free technology that allows him some peace in his palace.

"I don't think you should have to pay to stop being annoyed," he said.

There are steps you can take to end robocalls. Consumer's Union has the following advice.

  • Get Nomorobo. Consumers Union says it works well but only with Voice Over Internet Protocol.
  • Get an app for your android phone. Consumers union recommends Call Control and Privacy Star. Currently there are no apps that work for iPhones.
  • You can get hardware for your landline. (pages 14-16) Call your phone provider and ask what works with your landline service.
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