Imposter calls topped list of complaint categories in the past year
The Federal Trade Commission today issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2019. The FTC’s National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry lets consumers choose not to receive most legal telemarketing calls. The data show that the number of active registrations on the DNC Registry increased over the past year, while the total number of consumer complaints decreased for the second year in a row.
Now in its eleventh year, the Data Book contains information about the DNC Registry for FY 2019 (from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019). The Data Book provides the most recent information available on robocall complaints, the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and a complete state-by-state analysis.
FY 2019 Registration and Complaint Data
According to the Data Book, at the end of FY 2019, the DNC Registry contained 239.5 million actively registered phone numbers, up from 235.3 million at the end of FY 2018. The number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls decreased, from 5.8 million in FY 2018 to 5.4 million in FY 2019. This reflects that the FTC could not accept complaints during the recent government shutdown. Of those complaints, 71 percent were about robocalls.
During the past fiscal year, the FTC continued to receive many consumer complaints about telemarketing robocalls, with the total number of complaints decreasing slightly. In FY 2019, the Commission received 3.78 million complaints about robocalls, compared with 3.79 million in FY 2018. For every month in the fiscal year, robocalls—defined under FTC regulations as calls delivering a prerecorded message—made up the majority of consumer complaints about DNC violations.
Significant Changes in the FY 2019 Data
This year, consumers most frequently reported robocalls about imposter scams, with more than 493,000 complaints received. This represents a significant increase from FY 2018, when such complaints comprised only the third most reported category, with approximately 393,000 complaints received.
The upward trend in imposter fraud calls complaint volume regarding began in May 2019 and increased over the remainder of the fiscal year. Calls about medical issues and prescriptions made up the second-largest category, followed by complaints about debt-reduction programs, which was the most reported topic last year.
With respect to state data, New Hampshire now leads the nation in active DNC registrations per capita. The states reporting the most complaints per 100,000 population has not changed: the top five states are Colorado (2,294 per 100k population), Oregon (2,227 per 100k population), Arizona (2,211 per 100k population), New Jersey (2,188 per 100k population), and Nevada (2,186 per 100k population).
Finally, to make the information in the FY 2019 Data Book more accessible for the public, updated and interactive DNC data dashboards are available at ftc.gov/exploredata.
To make the Data Book as user-friendly as possible, it includes the following features:
- The number of DNC complaints about robocalls versus live callers.
- Information about the topics of calls reported to the FTC.
- A state-by-state analysis of DNC complaints.
- The underlying data in the report is publicly available at: https://www.ftc.gov/reports/national-do-not-call-registry-data-book-fiscal-year-2019.
Information for Consumers
Information for consumers about the DNC Registry, company-specific DNC requests, and telemarketer caller ID requirements can be found on the FTC’s website, and consumers can sign up for the DNC Registry for free. Other information about robocalls and what consumers can do about them is also available. To report unwanted telemarketing calls, consumers can file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, get consumer alerts, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.