PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s a problem every one of us has felt.

Some 48 billion robo-calls targeted American phones in 2018.

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“The robo-call problem is out of control,” says Maureen Mahoney, a policy analyst with Consumer Reports.

“Unwanted robo-calls jam up consumers phone lines when they’re expecting important calls, like from their doctors.”

“They wake up night shift workers when they sleep during the day and many of these robo-calls are coming from scammers,” Mahoney told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

Mahoney says that nearly half of the robo-calls are coming from scam artists often out of the country.

“They can be difficult to track down because they often engage in caller ID spoofing in which they input incorrect caller ID information to trick the consumer and also make it harder to track them down.”

While they ignore the Do-Not-Call Registry, wireless phone companies have made some efforts to help consumers block these calls.

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“So no current system is perfect in addressing these calls, but there are steps that consumers can take,” says Mahoney.

“AT&T has a free app that is called Call Protect. T-Mobile has a free app for cell phones as well. Verizon has said that it will be rolling out a free app by the end of the week.”

“So I do recommend that you ask your phone provider what free solutions they have.”

Verizon is just the latest, and some of the blocking tools it used to charge customers for will now be free.

Mahoney says there is no justification for a wireless company to charge consumers to block spam.

“Consumers pay so much for their phone service already that they shouldn’t have to pay more in order to address the robo-call problem.”

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Which is why everyone needs to contact members of Congress and the Federal Communication Commission to require all phone companies to implement stronger caller ID authentication technology.