CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Almost all telemarketing robocalls are illegal, yet they keep calling! The problem is so big that next week, the Federal Trade Commission is going to host a summit to try to figure out how to stop these annoying calls for good.
Telemarketing robocalls have been illegal since september of 2009. The only legal robocalls are ones where consumers, in writing, agree to them, or ones that are political in nature, survey calls or ones from charitable organizations. So why are they still causing our phones to ring off the hook? Companies are using fake caller I.D. numbers making them, untraceable; but the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC has some tips on how to cut down on the number of calls, you're getting.
"Any of the pre-recorded ones are just nonsense," Cape Coral resident, Jim Breen said about telemarketing robocalls.
Like most, he's fed up.
"They just called and said this is Rachael from cardmember services, if you want to consolidate your bills, please press one now. If you don't want to receive these calls anymore, please press three. I always pressed three. However they keep calling back," Jim explained.
Upset that the calls kept coming, Jim tried a different course of action.
"I thought, well I'll try to talk to a real human and get my name off this list," he said. "and I pressed one and I asked them if they would please-- and they hung up on me."
By pressing numbers, Jim sealed his fate and may soon find he won't be able to shake the calls anytime soon.
In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, he might be getting a lot more robocalls.
Despite outlawing these types of calls in 2009, more people than ever are getting sales pitch recordings on their phone. The reason? They're cheap and can easily reach thousands of people every minute!
While the FTC has stopped companies responsible for billions of illegal robocalls that offered fraudulent credit card services, auto warranty protection plans, and home security systems, a lot are still falling through the cracks. So how do you protect yourself?
First, hang up! It's that simple. Don't press one to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your phone number off the list. Responding will only lead to more robocalls!
Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number and whether they charge for that service. But keep this in mind: telemarketers change caller I.D. information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block that specific number.
Lastly, report your experience to the FTC and make sure your number is on the Do Not Call list.
While Jim knows now to hang up, he may have a few more weeks of annoying calls to deal with.
After you hang up on a robocall, make sure you report the incident to the FTC. Click on these links for more information.
(https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en) - FTC complaints
(https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx) - do not call list registration/complaints once you register
Also, on october 18th the FTC will host a public summit on this issue. Everyone from law enforcement to telemarketers, to consumer groups will be there talking about ways to trace these robocalls and how to make them stop, permanently. We'll follow what happens there and report on any changes that result from it.