Cell phones

Cell phones are pictured in this AP file photo.

Baton Rouge residents get more robocalls per person than anyplace else in the United States, according to a survey by a company that provides a phone app to block the spam calls.

With an average of 38.9 robocalls per person in the month of February, Baton Rouge topped second-place Memphis, Tennessee, where the average was 36, the survey by YouMail found.

The 225 area code, which covers the larger Baton Rouge region, saw the second-most robocalls per person in February, second only to the Atlanta area, the study said.

It's not a scientific study; YouMail creates its "Robocall Index" by extrapolating from the calls made to its users. The data includes all automated calls, including alerts from school districts, calls from political campaigns, payment reminders, and spam calls. 

Youmail said scams made up the largest portion of the robocalls in the U.S. in February — almost half. 

"The leading illegal types of robocalls in February continued to be those involving car warranties and health-related scams," the company said in a press release. "In particular, warranty scams continue to grow rapidly, increasing by 74 million calls in February versus January -- after increasing 100 million calls in January versus December."

Americans received more than 4.6 billion robocalls, of all types, in February. That's a 15.1% increase over January, PR Newswire said. 

"Robocallers are basically back in action," said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. "As economies continue their reopening journey, it's not a surprise to see robocalls essentially return to pre-pandemic levels."

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According to the Better Business Bureau, robocalls use a computerized autodialer to deliver pre-recorded messages to cell phones or home landlines. 

If a robocall is a sales pitch and the person getting the call hasn't given their written permission to receive calls from that company, the call is considered illegal, according to Federal Trade Commission rules. 

Some recorded messages are allowed by Federal Trade Commission rules, including messages from candidates running for office and charities asking for donations. Solely informational messages, like reminders from a doctor's office, are also allowed.

Prerecorded messages from banks and telephone carriers are allowed, as long as the companies make the calls themselves. 

The Federal Trade Commission recommends three steps to take to stop unwanted robocalls:

  • Hang up.
  • Block the call with available call-blocking technologies. Information is available at ftc.gov/calls
  • Report the unwanted or illegal call to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

Consumers can also report robocalls to BBB.org/ScamTracker. The BBB shares the information with government and law enforcement agencies.