(Boise) – As more Idahoans work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, spend more time with their digital devices, the number of complaints about robocalls has increased. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden reminds consumers that the best defense against unwanted phone calls is to ignore the caller.

The majority of robocalls that reach Idaho phones do not come from legitimate callers. Rather, they originate from criminals who want to steal consumers’ personal or financial information, obtain money from consumers, or solicit donations for fake charities. Imposter callers or fake debt collectors use fear and intimidation to coerce payments from consumers. Many of these calls originate from outside the United States, which makes it very difficult for law enforcement to catch and prosecute these criminals.

“My phone is not immune to robocalls so I completely understand consumers’ frustration,” Wasden said. “The best way to discourage robocallers is simply to ignore them. If that’s not possible, consider looking into the features and services provided by your phone, phone company and third party apps.”

Consumers can limit unwanted calls by using their phone’s call-blocking features. Some cell providers provide a paid filtering service. Consumers should review their provider’s website or call customer service numbers for more information. Third-party apps like Nomorobo, Hiya, Truecaller, and YouMail typically charge a monthly fee, but can also offer services like text blocking.

Consumers who lose money to a criminal caller should contact their local law enforcement entities to report the incident and take action to protect against identity theft. If the caller posed as a federal agency (e.g., IRS, Social Security Administration), consumers also should file a report with the inspector general of the applicable agency.