FTC takes a stand against illegal robocalls


Public Policy Fellow

By Maureen Mahoney on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in: telephone carriers can do more to stop robocalls!

Over 200 million consumers have signed up for the federal Do Not Call list, but many of them continue to be disturbed by incessant robocalls. That’s why we’re elated that the FTC is taking a stand. In comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday, FTC staff said that telephone carriers can pursue technologies that will immediately stop many of the illegal robocalls that threaten consumers.

In September, the National Association of Attorneys General requested that the FCC issue an opinion on whether carriers could legally implement existing technologies to block illegal robocalls. The FCC fielded a slew of comments, including those from Consumers Union and the FTC.

Consumers Union has long been pushing phone carriers to take meaningful action to stop robocalls. We’re especially grateful that over 50,000 supporters like you signed our petition to the FCC, and that many of you offered your own personal comments. We need your voices to help us stand up to industry lobbying. Take a look at our comments to the FCC here.

Telephone carriers have typically avoided offering call-blockers that shut down illegal robocalls. US Telecom, a trade association, has argued that carriers can’t legally implement these types of services. Customers of a few providers, including Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS Digital Voice, and AT&T U-verse, can sign up for Nomorobo, a free service that automatically disconnects illegal robocalls. But so far, this only covers a relatively small number of landlines.

We’re demanding that carriers provide all consumers with free protection from illegal robocalls. We’re hoping that the FCC makes a quick decision in favor of call blocking. In the meantime, click here to learn more about robocalls and what you can do to protect yourself.

Are illegal robocalls affecting your quality of life? We want to hear from you.

19 responses to “FTC takes a stand against illegal robocalls”

  1. Mike says:

    The robocalls of all kinds are on rampage now: the threatening one, the vacation selling ones and many more. They have especially activated recently, within 2-3 month.
    I would love for my phone company (Verizon) to be more pro-active. Essentially by doing nothing they let the scammers know they want their business.

  2. Steven says:

    Reading various threads on the topic shows many carriers want you to simply pay more (surprise, surprise) to use their call block services. Once again – its about the money.
    Hey Cox Communications – wouldn’t it be nice to see positive comments about your service rather than comments from YOUR pissed off customers? Let Nomorobo in!

  3. Audrey Shepard says:

    I can not tell you how much these piss me off. Once a week I receive a “local” (per caller ID) call from a company claiming to be “your credit card company”. Usually I hang up, I have asked repeatedly to be removed from their calling list, I have threatened to report them but how am I supposed to do that when they will not give me a company name and the caller ID number is fake…. They claim to have received my information (including information about my debt) and phone number from Experian. I ask to be removed from their list and they ignore me and talk about how much debt I am in (laughable the tiny amount of debt I have). I tell the I am on the do not call lists and they say Experian gave them my information so the are legal to call me…. I think I’m going to go after Experian. They may or may not be responsible but they are the only name I have and they are big enough to force a change if their reputation is on the line.

  4. Judy Waide says:


  5. Leslie says:

    I use CallFilter, a free app, to block robo calls on my cell phone. That along with the Caller ID app is all I really need.

  6. Mark says:

    Judy Waide, please keep us informed about how this works for you. I hope that you never get another robocall again. If Frontier can do this then the really big carriers should too.

  7. Judy Waide says:

    I called Frontier and the Rep looked into my complaint.
    The upshot….. Monday A.M on 2/2/15 I shall be able to block annoying robo calls!!!!

  8. Vic Vincze says:

    Robocallers spoofed my number when calling. I answered so I could talk to them about not calling. What a joke. I told them they are using my own phone number on caller ID…they said they know (in bad english no less). I asked to talk to a supervisor, they said he’s not there. Then they said he only talks to hot women. Then they said F*** you. I wish Cox Communications would allow us to use the robocall blocker. ALso,, the Do Not Call List is a total joke and not enforced.

  9. Caren says:

    We get at least 20 calls per week, about 1/3 from solar scammers (for a total of 126 solar calls in 2.5 years). I got three calls in 8 minutes from 702-777-9996, Luxury Homes of NV, trying to set up home remodeling jobs, no doubt from unscrupulous ripoff contractors. I was busy and did not pick up. They called several times recently. At the first call, I told them that I do not live in NV, I am on the (useless) DNC list, and I do not want calls.

    A new scam: I’ve had places like GoGreen Education try to sell me solar. I asked why they are calling since I am on the DNC list. They said they are non-profit and just a referral service. Really? We need to close this loophole!

    So why all the calls? Because they can. My expensive Cox system does not allow NoMoRobo, so we are shopping for a cheaper alternative that does.

  10. wb8nbs says:

    We get 3-5 calls a day on average unless its an election year when that doubles. Thank god for Caller ID and voice mail. They give you a way to identify and ignore spam calls.

  11. dj says:

    NoMoRobo.com is FREE and works well on some IP land lines! It’s not perfect, but does intercept many calls after the first ring. If I accidently answer a junk call, I try hard have the human to wait for someone else to allegedly come to the phone.

  12. Wally Schwarz says:

    Another situation of too little, too late. Every play a game of Wack-A-Mole? That was easy to win compared to these scammers.

    The robocallers originate the calls outside of the USA to avoid being held liable to US laws.

    They also buy huge blocks of phone numbers from so Rachael can change her phone number on almost every phone call.

  13. Judy Waide says:

    Frontier permits certain counties to block robo calls, etc, with the exception of the Rochester area. How about looking into that…… I’ve been plagued with these calls and can’t do anything about it…… except, of course, pay my phone bill………
    So sick of this crapola!!!

  14. Dawn says:

    I have stopped answering my phone altogether because most of the calls I recieve are robocalls. I am disturbed constantly on my days off, not by friends are family, but by these calls.
    I cannot believe that in this day and age I should feel like a hostage. So unfair!
    If I am in a room without a phone that doesn’t have a caller ID, I prefer to miss the call than to answer it.
    Something needs to me done! This is not fair to us!

  15. Jennie Sanchez says:

    If I don’t call you for information, DO NOT call me for information. And, if I call you & need more information, I will call you again. DO NOT call me unless instructed to do so.

  16. Mark says:

    I had a “Rachel” call that spoofed my own number. I stayed on to ask them to stop. The person on the other end of the line threatened to put me on a list that they use to call every few minutes. He also said that he could mess up my credit rating really easy. Of course he was using a lot of profanity. He said he was a credit office for Experian. I kept him going for awhile before I started laughing and he hung up. I’ve heard that they’ve threatened really old people so who knows how many people have fallen for this. It’s past time that this was stopped.

  17. All I do is run for them as my phone is in the other side of my house. I’m on the no call list- what a joke.

  18. Grace Larsen says:

    We get more unwanted calls than ever! Something needs to change!

  19. Carol Schlaepfer says:

    I am so aggry that I am on the recieving end of anywhere from 4 to 7 call daily.
    I ask to be removed from the list and they just hang up in my ear. No apology, just pure rudeness.
    They do NOT pay my phone bill, nor did “i” give them my number. It is a complete disturbance to my peace of mind and life.

    Please help us….

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