NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It may seem like getting phone call after phone call from telemarketers or even robots is a never ending hassle.

These “robocalls” have increased nationwide by more than 50 percent, and now there’s a new effort to crack down and avoid them, reports CBS2’s Valerie Castro.

“I probably get five or six robocalls a day from all different strange numbers,” said East Village resident Daniel Wexler.

“I am getting constantly barraged my cell and home phone,” said Susan Unger of Rego Park, Queens.

“I started getting them at work now,” said Mark Perez of Chelsea.

According to the FCC, robocalls have increased by 57 percent in 2018 to 47.8 billion total in the U.S., leaving many wondering why.

“They’re moving with technology,” said cyber security expert Fred Beyer, president of IT at FITECH Consultants.

Beyer says more companies are selling personal information like phone numbers.

“Things you sign up for, when you enter that phone number, if you don’t read the terms and agreement, you might be submitting to one of these that can be sold to robo companies,” he said.

MORE: How To Stop Robocalls From Bothering You

There are ways stop these calls. Beyer says people can block each number by going to the settings on their smart phone and blocking each number, or only accept calls from known contacts.

He also advises people to sign up for the National Do Not Call registry and download phone apps, like RoboKiller, which automatically blocks more than a million numbers.

“If you do pick up, you say ‘remove me from this now’ and just hang up, they have to remove you,” said Beyer.

In less than an hour, city councilman Paul Vallone says he got six random calls

“It has reached the level of harassment at this point,” he said.

Vallone is pushing legislation that would fine telecommunication companies that knowingly allow these calls to happen. He also wants to track and authenticate the calls.

“At least we will have a peace of mind as to who is calling,” he said.

If passed, the resolution would only apply to New York companies, but the councilman says he is also pushing congress to pass something similar.


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