Robocall Action Plan
The FTC’s multiple initiatives to combat the problem of illegal robocalls.
Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the vast majority of calls that deliver a prerecorded message trying to sell you something are illegal, unless you’ve given written permission for the caller to call you. These “robocalls” are illegal even if your phone number is not registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Most legitimate businesses adhere to the Telemarketing Sales Rule and do not place illegal robocalls. Unfortunately, however, the prevalence of illegal robocalls has increased significantly in recent years due to technological advances that make it easier and cheaper to:
- make large numbers of robocalls to consumers from anywhere in the world
- fake Caller ID information in an attempt to obscure location and evade law enforcement
The FTC is working on multiple initiatives to combat the problem of illegal robocalls, including:
- Continuing Aggressive Law Enforcement
The Federal Trade Commission continues to target high volume offenders and pursue “chokepoints” in the calling process to stop the largest number of illegal robocalls. The agency has stopped companies responsible for making billions of robocalls, and will continue to identify, locate, and prosecute those responsible for illegal calls.
- Gathering Evidence Strategically
The FTC is focused on fighting robocalls with the most innovative and strategic law enforcement techniques available. As one example, the agency created a telephone “honeypot” that is currently receiving incoming robocalls. This new tool was designed to help the agency gather evidence about illegal robocalls directly and act on this information as quickly as possible.
- Coordinating with Law Enforcement, Industry, and Other Stakeholders
On October 18, 2012, the agency hosted a public summit on robocalls. The event was just one example of the Commission’s work with technologists, legitimate industry, policymakers, consumers, and other stakeholders to discuss law enforcement strategies and the development of solutions to the rapid rise in illegal robocalls.
- Pursuing Technological Solutions
The FTC held its first public challenge, offering a $50,000 prize for an innovation to help curb illegal robocalls. On April 2, 2013, the agency announced three winning solutions. The Commission then invited all challenge contestants to make a version of their submissions public to further the national conversation about illegal robocalls.