NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Irritating and unwanted phone calls are getting worse, and complaints are skyrocketing from people on the national Do Not Call registry who say they are still getting swamped with robocalls.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the calls assault the senses and max out the stresses. They amount to a maddening medley that cellphones cannot escape.

“I definitely think it’s worse than ever,” said robocall victim Lauren Garfunkel. “Every day it’s like more and more and more, and there’s nothing you can do.”

Telemarketers are ringing up a record number of calls, with the Federal Trade Commission swamped with 5 million complaints this year from people like Barbara Grosswald, who is on the National Do Not Call Registry.

“For many years, the house phone and the cellphones,” said Grosswald, of Kings Park.

Most Americans are on the registry, but that has not stopped millions of daily violations. CBS2’s Gusoff even got them on her phone.

“This number is on the registry – the Do Not Call Registry,” Gusoff told a caller. “You shouldn’t be calling it., so you’re violating federal law by calling this number.”

The registry, created more than a decade ago, could trace numbers. But it cannot anymore.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the registry does not work anymore because telemarketers can now disguise numbers — often from overseas.

“They can push a button and make a million calls,” Schumer said. “It’s against the law, but you can’t find them.”

New technology can weed out these spam calls. Free apps such as Nomorobo routes them to a dead end, while Truecaller reveals who is behind the unknown numbers.

But not all carriers support the service.

Schumer has sponsored a bill that would require phone carriers to provide a blocking service. But until it is battled out in Congress, the problem remains.

“They really have to stop the calls, but I’m sure the telephone companies or whatever like to put the calls through,” Grosswald said. “That’s how they get paid.”

Some of the most frequently called area codes in the nation 917 and 347 in New York. They are receiving some 50 million robocalls each month.

Consumer advocates said the best thing to do is just to hang up immediately and not to press any buttons, because pressing buttons confirms you are a real person and could lead to even more calls.


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