Robocalls and the Do Not Call Registry

Federal Trade Commission rules prohibit telemarketing calls to numbers listed on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and calls delivering prerecorded messages, known as robocalls. Unwanted calls are the top complaint at the FTC, and the agency takes a multi-faceted approach to combating these calls:

Strong Civil Law Enforcement. The Commission has investigated and litigated to enforce its DNC and robocall rules for more than 10 years, bringing federal court lawsuits against companies and individuals who violate the law. To date, the FTC has brought 141 cases against robocall and DNC violators, more than 127 of which are now complete. This includes actions against 467 businesses and 377 individuals, leading to more than $1.5 billion in court judgments and $124 million in money paid by defendants.

Spurring and Supporting Technological Solutions. From 2012 through 2015, the Commission sponsored several “Robocall Challenges,” in an effort to encourage the development of robocall blocking technologies. Today, there are hundreds of options available to consumers. In 2017, the FTC began a daily release of data from consumer complaints that includes the caller ID number, date and time of the call, and subject matter of the call. This data helps call blocking and labeling services and telecommunications companies make decisions about blocking and labeling calls.

Consumer Education. To help consumers learn what they can do to reduce the impact of unwanted and illegal calls, the FTC does consistent media outreach and works with state and local community partners as well as consumer advocacy groups.