Robocalls keep coming: What to do about them
It’s enough to drive you crazy.
On landlines and cell phones alike, the robocall problem keeps getting worse and worse and worse.
There were 4.1 billion robocalls received last month in New Jersey and across the country, up from 3.3 billion in April, according to the YouMail Robocall Index, which estimates monthly robocalls in the U.S.
That’s more than 1,500 robocalls every second of every minute of every day, seven days a week.
And according to Ian Barlow, the Do Not Call program coordinator for the Federal Trade Commission, complaints about robocalls are definitely on the rise.
“We attribute that to probably both a rise in the number of calls, as well as consumers' ability to report the calls," he said.
He said to address the annoying trend, “we have vigorous law enforcement for violations of the Do Not Call and robocall rules. We’ve brought 135 cases against 439 businesses and 356 individuals, and we’ve collected $120 million.”
Barlow added the FTC is working with private industry to try and spur innovation, and with telecom carriers to block calls. It also does outreach in the form of blogs and forums to help educate consumers.
Nevertheless, the number of robocalls continues to skyrocket, so what, if anything, can you do about this? How should you deal with robocalls?
Barlow said the first thing you should do is go to donotcall.gov and register for the Do Not Call list.
He pointed out this will stop calls from telemarketers who follow the law, but also “it lets consumers know that if their number is on the Do Not Call list and they’re still getting sales calls, that means the person calling them is violating the law and it’s likely a company they don’t want to do business with.”
But if you’re still getting robocalls, he says, you should not start screaming at the telephone.
“We recommend hanging up immediately. There is no reason to engage with people who are violating the law," he said.
He also suggests you report unwanted calls to donotcall.gov, while reviewing different call blocking apps for your cell phone or landline.
Why take the time to report annoying robocalls?
“The more complaints we get and the better data we get, the more complete information, the better we can target the worse bad actors and really make our law enforcement efforts efficient," he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com
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