Answers to Go with Susan Smith

Q. I believe I registered for the Do Not Call service many years ago, but I am getting lots of annoying calls. Did my registration expire?

A. I found the following information on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call website.

How long does your phone number stay registered? Telephone numbers on the registry don’t expire. They only remove your number when it’s disconnected and reassigned, unless you ask us to remove it.

If your number is on the Registry, why are you still getting illegal calls?

Since 2009, the FTC has seen a significant increase in the number of illegal sales calls – particularly robocalls. The reason is technology. Internet-powered phone systems make it cheap and easy for scammers to make illegal calls from anywhere in the world, and to display fake caller ID information which helps them hide from law enforcement.

Many types of unwanted calls are not illegal. The Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls. You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls.

In addition, companies may still call if you’ve recently done business with the company, or if you’ve given the company written permission to call you. However, if you ask a company not to call you again, it must honor your request. Record the date of your request.

If you want to register for the Do Not Call service or check to see if you are currently registered, you may call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

If you prefer, you can register or check registration online. If you register online, you will receive a confirmation email from donotcall.gov. You must click on the link in the email within 72 hours to complete your registration.

If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If you get these calls hang up and file a complaint with the FTC.

What can you do to minimize unwanted calls? Hang up on illegal sales calls.

If your number is on the Registry, and you get a sales call, or you get an illegal robocall, don’t interact in any way. Don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or to talk to a live person. Doing so will probably lead to more unwanted calls.

Instead, hang up and file a complaint with the FTC. To file a complaint, visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

Due to the volume of complaints, the FTC cannot respond directly to every complaint. The FTC and other law enforcement agencies analyze complaints to spot trends and to identify and take action against the people responsible for these illegal calls.

To date, the FTC has sued hundreds of companies and individuals who were responsible for placing unwanted calls, and has obtained over a billion dollars in judgments against violators. Those who violate the National Do Not Call Registry or place an illegal robocall can be fined up to $40,654 per call.

Current technology makes it easy for scammers to fake or “spoof” caller ID information, so the number you reported in your complaint probably isn’t real. Without more information, it’s difficult for the FTC and other law enforcement agencies to identify the actual caller.

Nonetheless, the FTC analyzes complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns. The agency also pursues a variety of technology-based solutions to combat illegal calls and practices.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666