Robo-calls are swarming mobile phones, with this particular round of callers claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate. They're not, says the FTC.
The callers ask for bank or credit card information, sometimes say they have a package, and can also request a bank transfer. While at first the calls were aimed at people with Chinese last names — the calls have expanded.
Then there are also calls coming from people claiming to be representing the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund — and making it look like the phone numbers are coming from New York area codes. In this case they're asking for Social Security numbers, addresses and even their medical history. Don't fall for these either.
For years, we all knew to put our phone numbers on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry. That was meant to keep advertisers from ringing you up when you didn't want to be bothered. But mobile phones ownership is now at 95 percent in the U.S, according to the Pew Research Center and phone spammers are certainly paying attention.
While you can register your mobile phone at donotcall.gov — just like your landline — that doesn't always work. Those who are likely to make spam calls are unlikely to follow FTC rules or lists.
You can block a specific phone number through your mobile phone — but spammers never use the same number twice. (Darn them.) Instead, the FTC suggests people actually report these calls to its site.