Getting more spam calls? Here's how to stop them

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Does it feel like you're suddenly getting a lot more calls from scammers? You're not alone. A new survey from First Orion finds scam calls have quadrupled during the past two years.

“There is, unfortunately, a significant uptick across the United States regarding these phone calls,” Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau said.

The BBB has received nearly 6,000 scam call complaints since January. The calls are more than just a nuisance, as many callers are phishing for personal or financial information.

“Across the United States, there's been thousands of complaints where people have lost money or compromised their identity,” said Fleming.

So, why the sudden flood of calls?

Fleming said chances are you're giving out your cell phone number a lot more these days, since it's probably your primary point of contact. That increases the likelihood scammers will get their hands on it.

Auto-dialing software has also become cheap and accessible, as has spoofing software that tricks your caller ID.

“If you see a phone number on your caller ID that is local, you're more apt to pick up,” said Fleming.

And that's the biggest problem. If you've ever picked up one of these calls -- even just for a moment, buckle up -- because now scammers know you've got an active line.

“Do not pick up,” Fleming said. “Even if you like to play -- go back and forth -- it's not smart to do because then they know it's a connection, and again your number will be listed for sale.”

But what if you have answered? What do you do once they've got your number?

“There are things you can do,” Fleming said. “You can go to Put your phone number on that list.”

You can also download HIYA. It's a free app that alerts you when a suspected scammer is calling.

For $1.99 a month, you can download Nomorobo. The app will block many scam calls.

“ for $1.99, you can put your cell phone on a list and that will not eliminate 100 percent, but it will help,” said Fleming.

You should also report any scam calls you receive to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker. You can plug the scammer's phone number into their scam tracker and that will alert other folks not to pick up.

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