Get Any Unwanted Robocalls Lately?

While there is currently no foolproof way for consumers to stop these calls except for changing telephone numbers, Connecticut BBB has some suggestions to help prevent and stop them.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau Cautions against Button-Pushing as FTC Takes Action

Consider yourself among the very fortunate few if you have never picked up the phone and been greeted by a recorded “robocall.”

The federal Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibits recorded sales messages unless you have given written permission for the caller to contact you, regardless of whether or not your number is on the Do Not Call registry (www.donotcall.gov).

Nonetheless, a growing number of consumers are receiving calls that offer fraudulent credit card services, questionable auto warranty plans, home security systems and grant procurement programs.  Many Americans have received offers from “Stacey” or “Rachel” from “Cardholder Services” on their landlines and cell phones.

There is an important difference between "robocaller,"- which dials numbers indiscriminately and usually plays a recorded introduction - and an automatically-dialed recorded call for a sales pitch. 

Other, similar technology uses an automated dialer and prerecorded message for legitimate uses.  These may be employed  by a city or town during or in the aftermath of some sort of an emergency. Your doctor’s office or pharmacy may use a pre-recorded message to remind you about an upcoming appointment or let you know that your prescription is ready for pickup.  Robocaller databases may be augmented by telephone numbers sold by a third party.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has used its enforcement authority to stop companies that have made billions of auto-dialed calls, but acknowledges that technology has helped significantly increase these calls in recent years.  This technology helps criminals generate calls from anywhere in the world and falsify caller ID technology to cover their steps.

The FTC is hosting a public summit on the issue October 18, 2012 for consumer groups, legitimate industry, technology experts and policymakers in an effort to develop solutions to put an end to the rapid rise in robocalls.

While there is currently no foolproof way for consumers to stop these calls except for changing telephone numbers, Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends:

Keep your number to yourself – Any time you divulge your telephone number to a retailer, financial institution or other business, it is a tacit invitation for them to call that number or sell it to a third party. Robocaller databases may be augmented by telephone numbers sold by a third party.

Hang up right away – Recorded marketing calls typically begin with a second or two of silence.  There is nothing to gain from attempting to reason with the people behind the calls. Speak with your telephone provider to see if it can provide free blocking services.  Unfortunately, the telephone number displayed on caller ID may not be legitimate.

Do not press 1 or any other numerals to “get yourself off the list” – By pressing a number, you are confirming that someone is actually responding to the call, and you will likely receive more of them. You also may file a complaint with the FTC.

Will these pesky calls ever end?  The Federal Trade Commission website states it is  gathering evidence to act upon the illegal calls, and “FTC staff continue to hold meetings and calls with engineers, technologists, and industry experts to discuss technological solutions to better trace illegal calls, combat caller ID spoofing, and stop illegal calls."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Flowers July 25, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Most of my robocalls come from politicians or political survey seekers. Are politicians and charities exempt from these rules? I also hear a lot from a rug cleaning service that will be working in my neighborhood. ood of them to think of me.
No one here July 26, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Yeah, I have a caller I'd that allows me to block 100 numbers. That has not even come close to stopping anyone. If I don't get 10 calls a day it's a miracle, sat, sun, nights no difference. And GD GOOGLE IS ONE OF THE WORST !! Flippin idiots!
Taylor Duckworth July 26, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I don't think we should have to pay the phone company for their "protection" against these "thugs" that are clearly harrassing the general public!
Bill Saums July 27, 2012 at 10:34 AM
I wonder what the BBB is doing to track its 'clients' who apply for and receive an A rating from the BBB to see if those 'cleints' participate in spamming, robo calls and telemarketing. I suspect there are plenty of companies with an A rating from the BBB that participate in these activities.
Norm Brody July 27, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Good point Bill, the NY Times "Haggler" in the business section does not have much good to say about the BBB standing up for the rights of consumers. The BBB is all about shilling for the business' that pay for their ratings.


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