PEORIA — Now there's help in the battle against automated telephone calls. The Chicago-based Citizens Utility Board has released a guide to help Illinois consumers reduce annoying “robocalls.”

Robocalls are prerecorded messages from computer-generated dialers. Some robocalls, such as those announcing school closings, are helpful. But technology allows scam artists to cheaply and easily make thousands of calls a minute—with the result that calls have reached an alarming level.

U.S. consumers were hit with a record 47.8 billion automated calls in 2018, with 37 percent classified as scam calls and another 19 percent telemarketing, according to YouMail telecom services.

“Illinois consumers — and CUB staffers — are exasperated by bothersome robocalls,” said CUB Executive Director David Kolata. “Part of our mission is to help people reduce their stress level regarding electric, gas and telecom service. So we thought an appropriate way to celebrate 35 years of consumer advocacy was to give consumers tips and tricks on how to stop or reduce these annoying calls.”

CUB researched dozens of sources to identify tips for users of traditional landlines, digital home phone service, and smartphones. The guide is available at CitizensUtilityBoard.org.