Community Issues

Federal Government Announces Robocall Crack Down

See the steps you can take right now to prevent annoying (and potentially dangerous) robocalls.


Everybody hates those pesky robocalls that seem to flood your phone, but now there may finally be some good news!

CBS News reports that the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement plan to file charges against several companies as part of a government crack down on illegal robocalls .

The FTC says the bipartisan plan "Operation Call It Quits" will target those responsible for more than 1 billion robocalls every year.

"Robocalls are not just an annoyance that every single American feels several times a day," FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips told CBS News. "They can be a real problem for people who do pick up the phone and sometimes fall victim to those kinds of scams."

The FTC says common robocall scams include "bogus credit card interest rate reduction services" to "fraudulent money-making opportunities" and "medical alert systems."

If you ever feel you're being targeted as part of a scam, immediately hang up. If necessary, follow up with the appropriate service provider (i.e. your credit card company, if you've been offered suspicious interest rate reduction).

Phillips calls the plan just a first step in combating the tens of billions of illegal robocalls Americans receive, especially since many of these calls come from overseas. But fellow Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter says there will be a real impact.

"It often feels like whack-a-mole for us," Slaughter said, "but when we whack a mole, we are stopping a substantial number of cases of a number of unwanted calls, and that's important to me."

In the meantime, here are steps you can take right now to prevent illegal robocalls. First, you can register your home or cell number with the National Do Not Call Registry. Call 1.888.382.1222 with from the number you wish to register or visit www.donotcall.gov for more information.

Additionally, each major cell phone carrier offers call blocking technology.

  • Verizon just released free spam alerting and call-blocking tools in March, after previously charging a monthly rate for them.
  • AT&T offers Call Protect software.
  • T Mobile offers Spam Protect, which you can turn on by dialing #662# on your mobile device. The cost of the service varies depending on your T Mobile plan.
  • Sprint customers can sign up for "Premium Caller ID" for $2.99/month.

For more information on services and pricing, you should contact your cell carrier.

Finally, if you receive an illegal robocall or have been the target of a scam, you can click here to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission .

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