| More than 5 million complaints were made to the federal government about violations of the National Do Not Call Registry during the year that ended Sept. 30, a new report says.
Most of last year’s complaints to the FTC involved impostors who called and pretended to be someone they are not, according to the report, issued Thursday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a consumer protection agency. After that, most complaints centered on medical items and prescriptions; debt reduction; computer and technical support; and warranties and protection plans.
Complaints would have been significantly higher had it not been for last winter’s government shutdown, says Ami Joy Dziekan, program manager for the FTC registry. The agency’s complaint portals weren’t working during the 35-day closure.
The Do Not Call Registry was established in 2003. Phone numbers on the registry during the just-ended fiscal year grew to nearly 239.5 million, the highest ever, Dziekan says. Almost 4.2 million phone numbers were added during the past 12 months.
The registry lets people tell companies they do not want to receive most telemarketing sales calls and robocalls. According to the FTC, robocalls from political candidates and legitimate charities are allowed.
But if a recorded message is a sales pitch and you haven’t given written permission to get calls from the company behind it, the call is illegal and the pitch most likely is a scam, officials say.
Bad actors, unfortunately, ignore the registry.
Experts urge consumers to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or calling a toll-free number, 888-382-1222. They also advise people to hang up on telemarketers and consider using a call-blocking service.