FTC Consumer Alert
Robocalls are Illegal: Scammers Use False Caller IDs to HideThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, along with state and local law enforcement agencies, and consumer organizations across the country, are getting complaints from consumers about unsolicited robocalls. At the same time, individuals and businesses that have nothing to do with blasting the illegal robocalls are being blamed for these calls because their phone numbers are being misused by unscrupulous telemarketers.
Robocalls are prerecorded telephone calls. Robocalls pitching goods or services are illegal unless you've given the caller express permission to call you. And, says the FTC, in addition to the phone calls being illegal, most likely, their pitch is a scam. In fact, the FTC is cracking down on illegal robocalls offering fraudulent credit card services, and so-called auto warranty protection, home security systems, and grant procurement programs.
Fraudulent telemarketers often manipulate Caller ID information to hide their identity. In some cases, the fraudulent telemarketer may want you to think the call is from your bank, or another entity you've done business with. Sometimes, the telephone number may show up as "unknown" or "123456789." Other times, the number is a real one belonging to someone who has no idea his or her number is being misused.
If you have Caller ID, you can choose not to answer calls from numbers you don't recognize. Should you answer the phone and find yourself listening to an illegal robocall, hang up. Get the Caller ID information if you can, and file a complaint immediately with:
New Rules for Robocalls.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.