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Ask The Times: How can you stop robocalls?
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following question was submitted by a reader and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

What can be done to stop the constant harassment of robocalls? 

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall.

But first note that not all robocalls are illegal. Ones allowed under Federal Trade Commission rules without your permission include — and this will be widespread during an election year — calls from candidates running for office or charities asking for donations.

A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way, according to the FTC, which has set up a website describing call-blocking solutions

The call-blocking option you choose will depend on whether you’re getting calls on a mobile phone, traditional landline or home phone that uses the internet.

You can download a call-blocking app on your phone, and many are free. Also, check your phone carrier’s website or call customer service to find out what call-blocking services it offers or recommends.

If your home phone is a traditional landline, you can buy and install a call-blocking device. Call-blocking devices are typically small boxes you attach to your phone. These range widely in cost — from $20 to $90.

On phones that use the internet, the FTC recommends internet-based call-blocking services.

“Your carrier might be able to recommend a specific service,” according to the FTC. “But you also can search online for expert reviews. Some services are free and some charge you each month.”

Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with The Times. If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers.


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