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Telemarketer 3: Rise of the Robocalls

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Picture this: It’s dinner time. The kids are screaming. Then the phone rings just as you sit down. It could be important, so you run through the toys to the phone. You answer, but all you hear is silence. After a few seconds, a recorded message reminds you that it may be time to have your carpets cleaned and they offer a great deal this month. Or you’ve won a trip. Or you can lower your credit card interest rate.

Does this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We hear from many people about these robocalls. If the call is a message from someone selling something, and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from that company, the call is illegal.

In fact, the FTC has stopped many companies from engaging in this illegal conduct. For instance, we just settled a case with USA Vacation Station because it made millions of illegal robocalls to sell vacation packages. Under the settlement, the company and its owner are banned from robocalling anyone ever again.  

Do robocalls bug you, too? If so, watch this video to learn more about them, and the steps you can take to help slow them down.


Thank you for continuing to work to stop this horrible practice. As senior citizens we seem so victimized. Thanks again.

Now that I have signed up to stop the robo calls, I am getting robo text on my cell phone worse than the calls

The Federal Trade Commission should be doing a whole lot more to get these idiots in jail where they belong. This practice has been going on for years and years. Meanwhile, all our outgoing calls seem to be monitored by Homeland Security. So lets make some serious progress! It's just been getting worse and worse!

I use a phone message to stop most of them and it works. I say on the answering machine message that if the caller is calling from a phone that is blocked we will not answer the call. If they wish to call back they need to unblock their phone so we can see who's calling, Same thing with messages left on our machine or service providers Message system.

When they keep calling anyway and I can track down who they are, I find their corporate number (if it is a business in this country) I tell them we are on the DO NOT CALL list so to proceed at their own risk, because we will file complaints with the FTC.
It helps to have the FTC do not call consequences handy so you can remind the caller what is at stake. I keep a printout next to my phone of the things the FTC can do to them, by way of fines mostly, to make them stop. They use out of the country computer calls now and their is nothing we can do about them so just have to deal. I hope this helps someone.

I agree it dose no good to sign DO NOT CALL LIST any more. It stopped calls when it first came out, but robo callers ignore it now.

How about requiring the service providers to set up an automatic call back option. When an unwanted call comes into your line, you hang up, get a dail tone, than press *61. This would immediately deposit 25 cents to your account. The service provider would be required to come up with the funds.

The problem is they spoof caller id's so the number you would be calling back would not even be the individual that called you. (IE: when you try to call back a number later and it says the number is not in service is from a spooked caller id) Best thing to do is keep the date and time of the call and the number that displayed in the caller id. The FTC can track the traffic and determine where the call actually originated. (Often it's offshore making the problem worse)

Hahahaha I got a robocall while watching this video.

this sound so true, ive been going threw so many changes with all the bull they put me threw!

Of course it's all right for my congressperson to make annoying robocalls.

They always phone between 6 and 7 p.m. I just hang up when I get a few seconds of silence.

How about making the phone companies tell who it is that's paying the bills for all these robo call numbers. Then you go to them and fry 'em.It seems to me that ,if you can find the payee, you have have the guilty party.Right now, I have dozens of call listed in my caller directory from numbers all over the country. One or two leaves the same message. The rest of them just call message.Why do I have to do all the work to stop the calls? How about making robo calls illegal, or at least, punnishable really don't want to know. Free speech is one thing, robo call harassment, and it is harassing,is another. Get the phone companies involved, after all, it's their facilities that are aiding and abbeting the criminals.

The FTC and the Consumers Union have been working toward this end for several years. Not too surprisingly the phone companies are fighting them on it. Why should they care who pays them as long as they get paid. Get onto your phone company. If we make them miserable enough (say as miserable as we are about the robocalls) maybe they'll get more cooperative about putting an end to this.

Dthirtyoneandtwo You are right robo calls should be illegal, but our politicians must get lobbied to let this practice go on. Robo and telemarketer calls should be against the law with federal penalties for violating it. I bet these politicians don't get robo calls on their personal phones. I don't see how what they do is protected speech ? What is needed is a petition against it with the government. It is near election time maybe they will listen. (haha)

I'm with you kid!! I started to jot down times and numbers, too, but it's a waste of time if they are spoofed numbers. It's also costly for me because I use *69. I don't have an ID on my phone. This is harassment.

robo calls are extreme violation of all our peace and privacy. IWe have had many robo calls but one in particular has had such an array of caller id numbers but are always from " Bridget" calling about our credit card that is in ok but I need to press a button to speak with someone. This has been happening for so many months I've lost count. We are now no longer answering any calls unless expecting that call to come in. I've tried blocking the incoming #'s at first but now so many different #'s we've given up with answering most incoming calls ! Just sick and tired.

We all appreciate your efforts in STOPPING all the scams but it's as if this government has done nothing to stop this. We finally had to spend hundreds on a phone that blocks 250 calls.. I also feel you our government should WORK with Phone companies to come up with a reasonable solution to stop it at NO CHARGE or minimal CHARGE to the customer paying for all this illegal activity.. I will also add, at one point in time, I had a list of over 300 illegal calls that I gave to the DO NOT CALL . DID THIS STOP or halt it.. ?? Absolutely not.. The people I feel most sorry for are the elderly who are lonesome for the animals who prey upon them! Government!!! HA!

Received robo call from 646-663-6650 pre-approved loan message

Are robo-calls from IRS assigned bill collectors able to ignore this Federal Law requirement since they consider themselves Government contractors? We have had several tax clients stating they have received these types of call fro supposedly IRS authorized bill collector. Some clients have been threatened with prison.

The IRS does not call and make demands for immediate payment. The IRS always makes first contact by letter. The IRS will not make an unexpected call and threaten legal action if you don't pay.

For information about whether the IRS uses private collection agencies, look on the IRS and IRS taxpayer advocate service site.

It's ALL unwanted calls needing to be outlawed! Not just people selling products! Let the politicians and charities, including so-called police donations, support our Post Office, far less intrusive on our lives than dozens of phone calls, often up to three per day from most. With Caller ID and answering machines, those of use fortunate enough to have them, we have no reason to answer these calls - so reporting them is a non-issue for us - they're allowed to make these calls, and so they will. While these unnecessary/obnoxious calls are either hanging up on our answering machines or recording a long message we are not able to receive an urgent family/friend call - or make an urgent call ourselves! The Do Not Call program is 100% useless for us, just outlaw these phone calls and have our phone company providers block these calls free of charge. I have Verizon, I can check off to block, but it's not official, the calls continue, they change numbers, apply false ID to Caller ID - and phone companies want to charge us a fee, with the usual government taxes, to buy Call Block - another fee in addition to our Caller ID fee. Is this the new American Way - that anything goes - and privacy is a non-issue now? You're giving us no help at all by telling us to answer the calls and report them, especially considering that many citizens who cannot afford Caller ID might not be able to afford Internet costs, do you expect them to take time out of there lives to call or snail mail you? Bottom line: just put a stop to all these unwanted, unrequested calls and enforce strong penalties when the phone companies, not us, report a list of these numbers to you. Not all doable, but certainly more can be done, much more, that what these release offers us. Bring back our privacy!

Absolutely right! Outlaw ALL telemarketing calls. Require a hefty fine for each occurrence. If the caller can't be located because of technical manipulation, then the phone provider originating the call has to pay it. Do Not Call list is worthless. Call blocking is worthless because they keep changing the outgoing number. Free speech does not include intruding into my home to hear messages I have no interest in. You want to advertise? Buy an ad. Send a mailing. Stop invading my privacy. This is why the government sucks. Corporations can do whatever they want even if everybody hates it.

I agree, also believe that only certain "charities & political orgs, have the right, need to get clarification on that. No one without a legitimate reason should be aloud to call us !...In the "old days" we were instructed to blow a whistle into the phone (won't help with robo-calls, but a few blown out ear drums of a few live telemarketers might change a few minds about making telemarketing calls.. HAVE CONSIDERED DOING IT...????

Just got a call from the disabled veterans at 10:20 p.m.. They will never again get a cent from me. Which is too bad, because they are a decent bunch. But that is my new tactic. I figure they call my cell phone because I gave once. Well...that's done.

I cant understand why the government cant pass laws banning robocalls and Spam calls' on home and cell phones They pass laws on other things. Wonder if they understand that many people have dumped home phones because of the constant spam calls

This is great information but I still get calls from Iranian speaking men saying they are from Microsoft and wants me to get on my computer and type things in. I tell them there is nothing wrong with my computer and it's a scam. They hang up. It happens at least 3 times a week.

Just tell them u don't own a computer,

I get these every day. I now either don't answer, or when I get annoyed enough I tell them I don't own a computer. Wonder if they'll get tired of calling. How about answering with a loud earsplitting whistle? - (Didn't know they were Iranian.)

I keep getting calls from 513 573-8739 that says Macy Bloomies. Later another call 727 -577-2556. They keep calling all day long.

Why does the FTC allow pacs and politicians to use robo calls? Those are more annoying than the scammers.

I have registered, with the do not call robocall, I am getting calls I need your help to stop these people from calling me period.

Yesterday received a call from someone with a decided foreign accent saying they are returning our call for computer help! lol Of course, never made a call and we just hung up. Really? Yes, we are on the do not call list.

I get robo & crank calls all day long. I've cal the sheriff that was a waste of time. I called my phone company, they ave a fraud number but guess who doesn't answer their phone; So another waste of time. Actually considering cancelling my land line. One crank caalls up to 9 times a day

Thank you for paying attention to those of us who send our complaints! Appreciate the info and your willingness to help us!

I get calls from Credit Card services at least once a day for many years. I have complained many times to the FTC but so far it does no good. I have been on the Fed No call list for years. Why can't they stop these criminals?

Great information,
Thank you for that video. it was short, but very informative. It would be great if the consumer who files the complaints could sue these scammers also. We are the targets of their unlawful attempts and the victim's of their annoyance. It good to know that you are working hard to eradicate this nuisance and I am sure you will be successful, hopefully, soon. Thank you sincerely, Kah

it is not enough!do not call list is crap. the real relief is too git caller i.d. and then do not answer anything until it has been screened.i screen all my calls.include this into u r rapp next time,most all services have a screening capibility, u just hav to learn how too use it.257

there should be laws that put these people in jail for unwanted calls to your home, And a large fine imposed.

not me got anew way to kill the profit they make.. each time i get a robo call on any cell or lan i shut down and do not re top up the phone for month since i have a few of them and i do not care which companies it is since they are all partner in this crime. so each tim the call once i set my own fine they loose month from one of the phones...all it takes is one robo and i pick just say provider number bla bla your punished for the month no fee for you you this month even if it was another provider that did the call i do not care anon can work both ways at 20 bucks a month loose more than they make. just tell friends how you operate your phone they just may do the same. as you.

I used to get robocalls at 7-8 in the morning telling me I'd won a three day vacation in the Bahamas...what they don't tell you is you have to pay for your flight to Chicago or New York and make your connection through them and the same way back home, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (only)...I finally got Call Blocking on my phone. I now know their #'s and they still try to get through but I've LOCKED and BLOCKED my door. Robocalls about my credit cards...that used to drive me crazy, since I have no credit cards. Those are all blocked too.Call Blocking is GREAT! SO IS THE FTC FOR KEEPING ON TOP OF ALL THIS STUFF. GREAT JOB. GOOD ON YOU. DON'T STOP NOW. W E N E E D Y O U N O W M O R E T H A N E V E R because technology come so far and hackers are like cochroaches. If you see (hear) one, you know she's got a 1,000 babies behind her. PLEASE ADDRESS CYBER MESSENGERS TRYING TO "FRIEND ON FACEBOOK? I my notification page absolutely blew up after I posted about the three Nigerian Hacker's I trapped yesterday. Like 145 people notified me they were contacted by "Military" people also. Now they are using our Military if they know someone is a patriot. They read all your information on your Facebook then gear their opening lines according to that....PLEASE CAN'T SOMETHING BE DONE? I HAVE TWO TYPES OF ANTI-VIRUS AND MALWARING ON MY COMPUTER NOW AND I STILL DON'T FEEL SAFE.

Good Job? If the FTC was doing a good job, this article and discussion wouldn't be happening. Fact if, these telemarketers are thumbing their nose at you, me and FTC and this joke of a do not call list.

I read an article in which the FTC puffed their chest about fining a telemarketer $100,000.00 who reportedly made millions from their marketing campaign. Do the math, 100 Grand to make a million, I'd pay that all day long. What they need to do is make the penalties substantial enough to act as a deterrent.

In my experience, Cox Communication's call blocking system was absolutely useless against robocalls. Total waste of money and time.

The FTC needs to REQUIRE phone companies to provide a low-cost program called NoMoRobo, which effectively blocks these nuisance calls. Until that happens, IMHO the FTC is NOT doing its job.

The only way you can protect a land-line is to purchase an external call-blocking device that you plug into the phone, which will intercept about 90% of the nuisance calls. Until such time as the government brings a stop to these intrusions, that is about your only recourse, short of canceling your land line.

There should be a number you enter after robocall to alert law enforcement call was illegal. like *69


These people are only doing this because it is profitable - what can we do to disrupt their efforts? Should we register for a loan/produce and bury them in incomplete applications and forms? Should we offer them work a $30 an hour "Because you're worth much more than that" - and cause unrest within the industry - and forward any personal contact data we get to the FTC??? Think outside the box - WHAT CAN WE DO?

We need a way to find out the origination of a call that shows your own phone number. Reporting that we got a call from ourselves does not help you find the source.

US Pharmacy has my number and over they do robo calls for Viagra

What if the robocall that's calling all the time is a "Blocked Call"?

Since adding my home phone AND cell phone to the do not call list a few years ago the amount of calls had tripled. This crap should be criminal.

When I complained to a live caller I was told that Political calls and Charity calls aren't illegal. THAT should be b.s.


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