Kvetch and release

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They say “Nobody likes a complainer,” but don’t you believe it. For years, the FTC has encouraged consumers to speak up about questionable practices. We use those complaints in lots of different ways – for example, to spot emerging forms of fraud, to help set FTC priorities, and to bring law enforcement actions. Today we’re announcing a significant expansion in how we use complaint data in the ongoing fight against what some people view as Consumer Enemy #1.

Illegal robocalls.

The FTC is launching an initiative to provide telecom companies and other industry partners with daily information about the phone numbers that consumers are complaining about. The goal: to help generate solutions to block illegal calls.

Many call blocking tools rely on blacklists – databases of phone numbers that consumers report are the source of illegal calls. Under the new effort, when consumers contact us about unwanted calls, the phone numbers they’re complaining about will be released each business day to help companies that are implementing call blocking solutions. The newly available data also will include the date and time the consumer got the call, the general subject matter (debt reduction, warranties, home security, etc.), and whether it was a robocall. Companies working on call blocking tools will be able to use that information in determining which calls should be blocked or flagged.

This is just the latest step the FTC is taking to reduce the siege of illegal robocalls. We’ll continue to use the law enforcement tools in our arsenal, of course, but this is a battle we’re fighting on all fronts. That’s why we’re using innovative methods to work toward a technological solution to the pernicious pet peeve that tops the list with 1.9 million consumer complaints in the first five months of 2017. And now more than ever, those complaints are an important weapon in the fight.

Why should law-abiding companies support the fight against illegal robocalls? Two reasons: 1) because consumers vexed by bothersome calls may not be as receptive to other forms of advertising – in other words, malicious marketing is bad for business; and 2) because they annoy the heck out of you, too.

 

Comments

Best Title in the History of the FTC. Lesley is a genius!

I don't even answer my phone anymore. If I don't recognize a caller ID, it goes to voice mail. First sentence on VM - If you are a solicitor, hang up NOW. Ridiculous that the population of the USA is in this position.

Not to be a "kvetcher", but...hallelujah! It's about time. The calls from unwanted telemarketers (ignoring the Do Not Call List), the calls from "spoofed" numbers filling up my voice mail box), and the outright "goniffs" (who just want access to my home computer under the ruse of fixing it, and who I now ask, "Is your mother proud of you that you make a living stealing from other people?") are all too much. Just as bad, the facilitators (the phone company), charges you a fee for call blocking so yo have to pay every month to get some peace!

Awesome. You guys are doing a great job. I love reading your emails and passing on the info to my social media connections and clients. I hate those calls and block the numbers on my cell phone. I have contacted you guys in the past and will continue to do so.

how can we report Scam phone numbers and Robo call phone numbers without having to fill out an entire complaint form is there an easier faster way to get this information to you.

Here is the number for "Nancy" from the "Treasury" 360-1000-2220, I doubt bubble-gum chewing Nancy knows what the the U.S. Dept of the Treasury is or does.

If they claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service, report it to phishing@irs.gov, subject line: “IRS phone scam.” You may also report these calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA (www.tigta.gov), which has jurisdiction over IRS-related matters.

If they claim to be from the Treasury (non-IRS), report it to OIGCounsel@oig.treas.gov.

For any report of a fraudulent call, include

· The exact date and time that you received the call (s)

· The phone number of the caller

· The geographic location and time zone where you received the call

· A description of the communication.

Glad to read about the approach. I do want to raise one observation for consideration and it's the use of spoofed #'s. Having received such calls and dialing them back, I've found on occasion that I was speaking with an unfortunate person whose number was being shown on the caller ID display, but who was not associated with the actual illegal call. Their # was being spoofed. If consumers are reporting the caller ID's in such cases, how will the owners of #'s used in spoofing be handled, as to not have their legitimate #'s being blocked or otherwise placed on a 'bad list'?

We appreciate your concern on behalf of people and companies whose numbers have been spoofed, MP.  Call blocking technologies can help detect and prevent spoofed traffic. That’s because call-blocking technology relies on an analysis of many different data points – like call volume, call profile, call duration and where the call is coming from. Industry members must perform a careful analysis of all available data to determine if the number is appropriate to block, including whether the number is being spoofed. While there's no 100% guarantee they'll always get it right, so far we haven't heard about unnecessary blocking. 

 

I don't answer those unknown calls anymore. I'm sick of blocking each one of them. I just read an article related to this problem about a woman who sued a company after getting multiple robocalls. I think legal approach is the best way for us to fight those telemarketers now.

Several of the calls I've tracked down using tracking sites have used actual people on a white page list the phisher or spammer has access to. These people are unknown to me from areas that wouldn't know me. I don't answer. They are getting craftier.... They are buying up all unused exchanges and area codes in my community and using them to call. I have traced many such numbers to Korea. The FTC has got to recognize and prosecute these outrages to the public. Also, They know we are senior citizens because they are attempting to sell my husband and I burial insurance, medic alerts.... how do they know/... Who is selling them our information? The FTC has done nothing about these calls and now I am getting them on my cell- I thought they are illegal..!!!!. "competition" be damned ---the little person matters just as much as businesses. FTC_ tell them to cease and desist- most of them are foreign....

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