Complaints from Do Not Call users up
By USA Today
Published: Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 9:36 p.m.
The average monthly complaints from consumers who signed up for the national Do Not Call list but still are getting telemarketing calls have jumped 63 percent from 2011, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which maintains the list.
Much of the blame is on a proliferation of computerized robocalls, according to Lois Greisman, FTC's director of marketing practices.
Illegal robocall operations are taking advantage of increasingly sophisticated technology that has made it easier and easier to simultaneously send thousands of robocalls costing less than one cent per minute, Greisman says. “It used to be, in order to blast out these calls you needed a big infrastructure, you needed a lot of service, a lot of computers, and now basically all you need is a computer and a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) connection.”
The Do Not Call Registry started in 2003 to address the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. It was an immediate hit, adding more than 51 million phone numbers in its first year. Once a cell or landline number is listed, it stays until disconnected.
While registration growth has leveled out in recent years — there are more than 221 million numbers now on the list — complaints have skyrocketed. Since last September, the FTC has handled an average of 308,000 complaints a month, a slight drop from a few record months early in 2012, but more than double the number two years ago.
Under the rules, only surveys, political calls, charitable requests and informational calls (such as a school announcing a weather delay) are allowed. And charity appeals must be direct, not from a telemarketer.
Greisman says FTC enforcement cases in the past several years have focused on scammers trying to sell bogus products such as extended auto warranties and credit-card debt reduction plans. But legitimate companies such as Mortgage Investors Corp. have gotten in hot water for violating Do Not Call.
Along with being cheap and easy, robocalls can be the hardest to trace, says Sid Kirchheimer, author of “Scam-Proof Your Life.” Calls often come from foreign centers, and scammers increasingly use technology to “spoof” caller ID to display whatever number they pick, he says.
“The FTC is doing a great job for what they can do,” he says. “(They) deserve credit — it's a really, really tough thing.”
Since the Do Not Call program started, the FTC has filed 106 enforcement cases against companies and individuals who have violated the rules and has collected $81.9 million in relief and penalties.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Crisis stymies Obama getaway
- Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden’s leaks to cost billions, take years to fix
- Volunteers reconstruct World War II bomber plane
- House foils Obama’s new power plant limits on carbon pollution
- Shuster plans oversight for DUI program
- Mummified remains found in foreclosed home
- Holocaust survivor sues Germany in looted art claim
- 18-year-old loses suit seeking parents’ support
- Tenn. homicide suspect shot mom in 2004