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Relief From Those Annoying Robocalls

FTC rolls out new system to track — and block — calls

FD Robocall Relief

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Every day Americans report tens of thousands of illegal robocalls.

Have you been getting more and more robocalls on your phone? If so, you’re not alone, but relief could be on the way. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cellphone providers and industry experts have unveiled a new system to track — and more quickly block — these annoying and often illegal calls on your landline and cellphones.

Complaints about the calls have been pouring into the FTC — so much so that they are the No. 1 complaint the agency receives. The FTC plans to process your complaint within one business day and immediately turn over information you gathered from the caller to phone carriers and other industry partners. As part of the partnership, the groups will work to quickly block the unwanted number from calling you and others.

“Sharing the critical information from consumers’ unwanted call complaints to enable industry innovators to stop illegal robocalls is exactly the type of public-private partnership the FTC champions,” said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Make sure you subscribe to the Do Not Call list. If not, you have to wait 31 days to file a complaint.
  • If you receive unwanted calls or robocalls in violation of the FTC policy, take notes. You’ll want to gather this information from the call: incoming phone number, date and time of call, what the call was about, and whether it was a recording or live person.
  • File a complaint on the FTC website. The agency has made its complaint form simple, with numerous drop-down menus to help you through the process.

The FTC says your complaint is crucial because many of today’s call-blocking solutions rely on “blacklists” — databases of telephone numbers that have received significant consumer complaints.

Robocalls can be more than irritating. They also can be a scam and cost you plenty. TrueCaller, a caller ID and blocking app, reports that an estimated 22.1 million Americans lost $9.5 billion in phone scams in 2016.

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