Episode 789: Robocall Invasion : Planet Money Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.
NPR logo Episode 789: Robocall Invasion

Episode 789: Robocall Invasion

When a robot calls. Renee Klahr/NPR hide caption

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Renee Klahr/NPR

When a robot calls.

Renee Klahr/NPR

Warning: This episode contains some explicit language.

There are now a billion robocalls going to cellphones and landlines every month. Many of them look like they're from your neighbor.

It's not really your neighbor, of course. It's neighbor spoofing—which means using the internet to make it look like a scammer (who could be anywhere in the world) is calling from your area.When we asked our listeners if it's been happening to them... right away, we got about a thousand responses.

We know the basics: Scammers are impersonating nearby numbers. But why is it suddenly so popular? Who is on the other end of the line? And can they be stopped?

We talk to anti-spam specialists, the head of the FCC, and, scariest of all, we pick up the phone and talk back to the scammers.

Music: "Get It Get It" and "Wildoff." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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