Consumers turn to technology to stop robocalls

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MEMPHIS, Tenn — As government regulators work to shut down scammers consumers are tuning to technology for some help.

"If I know it's a robocall then I just hit that big red button," said Bert Bennett, who has been hanging up on spam and robocalls for more than a year now.

"It's great feeling to take back a little bit of power, and have a little control over your life away from the scammers," said Bennett.

After getting close to retirement, Bennett said he started to get all sorts of insurance related calls on his land line.

That's when he did some research and bought the CPR Call Blocker.

"The day I got it, it cut the number of calls by over 50 percent," said Bennett.

CPR Call Blocker retails for around $80.  It comes pre-programmed with hundreds of numbers. Plus, users can add others.

When Bennett blocked my number the app worked immediately.

"You've been blocked," said Bennett.

More consumers are turning to technology to stop robocalls. WREG researched some of most popular apps and got feedback from viewers about what they were using.

Valerie Brown is a big fan of the app True Caller. "This for me has really helped me out, and I've had this app for years," said Brown.

True Caller uses a database of known scam, spam and junk calls and automatically identifies those. "If it's something that's reported as spam, then it'll come up red," said Brown.

Brown can also use reverse look up and report numbers as spam. She has the calls sent straight to voicemail, and we tested it by blocking my number.

"So it goes to voicemail on my end. It`s not even gonna bother me."

"You`re blocked sister! Don't try that again," said Brown.  With so many options, News Channel 3 decided to test out a few other apps.

Three people experimented with three different apps, because well, they're all experiencing one problem.

"Every day, I`m getting five and six calls a day," said Darrell.

"It`s annoying, I got one last week, but it was supposedly Microsoft," said Darrell.

Cathy Sieggreen says she gets a lot of calls from an area code in a state where she previously lived. She was excited to try out the app Hiya.

"If it quits the robocalls, yes definitely," said Sieggreen.

We had Darrell Catron test out the app, Mr. Number. Denise Guin downloaded the Sync Me app.

We checked in with our testers after about a week. The good news is, "it kind of flagged a couple of them," said Kathy.

Sieggreen used Hiya, and it flagged a Michigan number, her previous home state, as a telemarketer.

"A yellow flag with an exclamation point means it's a telemarketer,' said Sieggreen.

But Sieggreen said she had other spam calls come through.

"In all honesty, I wasn't super impressed," said Sieggreen. She was also less than excited about the reverse look up and reporting features.

"That to me was kind of a hassle," said Sieggreen.  Catron also had success with Mr. Number.

But similar to Sieggreen, Catron says other suspected scam calls went through. "Maybe it's working, maybe it`s not. We don't know."

Guin says she was pleased with the Sync Me app. Although some junk calls got through the app caught and identified at least two spam numbers.

"So overall, not bad - especially since it's free," said Guin.

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