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News : Robocalls Get Worse, Despite Do Not Call List
Kansas, KS, USA, March 23, 2015 -- The Do Not call list was supposed to make telemarketing calls a thing of the past.
But in the decade since that list became law, unwanted telemarketing calls have gotten worse, not better, the FTC says.
Why? The agency blames a combination of computerized robocalling and what's known as Caller ID spoofing.
Automated Calls Explode
You know the routine: Your phone rings, and its an automated telemarketing call, or robocall, to sell you something you don't want.
When the Do Not Call list was first rolled out, most calls were from live telemarketers. Those people abide by the list, and will typically not call you if you are on it.
But the Federal Trade Commission says robocall complaints have skyrocketed the past 5 years, and reports it received an average of 300,000 complaints per month in 2014.
The FTC blames technology for the surge in calls, that allows computers to call hundreds of phones at once over internet lines at virtually no cost.
Ten or 15 years ago, they would have had to pay long distance charges per call.
Caller ID Lies
And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the other trick that makes robocalling easier: Caller ID spoofing.
That's a computer program that lets the callers hide their number on your caller ID. It can then come up as a call from the government, or even a call from your own phone, which confuses people.
If you pick up and find it’s just a marketing call, you'll say "doesn't that stink."
Worse, if they call your cell phone, you use up minutes, and could end up paying for the call.
While telemarketing calls to cell phones are illegal, the people behind most robocalls, like "Rachel from Card services," couldn't care less about the law.
And if they are scammers pretending to be from the IRS, no list will ever stop them.
What Can You Do?
Make sure you are on the Do Not Call list, at www.donotcall.gov . You can also file a complaint there, or by calling 888-382-1222.
But in the end, you may have to fall back on the tried and true technique of screening your calls.
If you don't recognize the number calling your cell phone or home caller ID, don't answer, and that way you don't waste your money.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
About Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act. Its principal mission is the promotion of consumer protection and the elimination and prevention of anti-competitive business practices, such as coercive monopoly.
Published: Thursday, March 26, 2015