FTC unveils new system to track and block robocalls


Editor’s Note:  Credit for this article goes to AARP but is relevant to everyone who has been annoyed or victimized by robo-calls.

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.

What to do:

  • 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.

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.


About Author

Christine Anne Piesyk has been a journalist for more than 50 years. Her credits include positions as Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Staff Writer specializing in education, leisure living, food and arts and entertainment. She was co-producer, writer and on air persona for the Entertainment Review for 25 years. Now "retired," she finds herself working on online websites and as a book editor. In her other life, she is a costume designer in her daughter's company, Gemini Dream Designs.

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