By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We all get them, yet none of us can seem to do anything about them. Who are the robocallers, and why won’t they stop?

Robocalls are one of the biggest consumer complaints reported to the Federal Trade Commission every year.

The question regarding who’s behind the robocalls is a bit complicated because the robocall itself literally just means an automated phone call.

It could be your kid’s school district cancelling class, but more likely it could be someone trying to sell you something you don’t want.

It’s likely advice you’ve heard before — go on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call list. The Department of Commerce suggests you do so because it’s supposed to block just about every unfamiliar sales call.

If you still get robocalls from numbers you don’t know, they are almost certainly trying to commit fraud. Robocallers who want to commit fraud are probably alright with calling you illegally. That adds another layer to an already uphill battle for regulators.

Also not helping the enforcement is the fact that robocalls are hard to track, and easy to make.

“They can send out millions of robocalls and if they get one hit, it cost them virtually nothing to get one person on the line. One hook. One person on the line to steal their identity, because a lot of it is identity theft. A lot of it is having access to information they shouldn’t have access to,” Department of Commerce commissioner Jessica Looman said.

One other piece of advice worth repeating: do not engage with the caller. If you happen to answer, hang up. Even if the message on the other line advises you to push one to stop receiving calls, hang up.

Also, know that the government won’t demand payment over the phone, ever.

Christiane Cordero