Imposter calls once again top list of complaint topics in the past year
The Federal Trade Commission today issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2020. 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 by two million over the past year, while the total number of consumer complaints decreased for the third year in a row.
Now in its twelfth year of publication, the Data Book contains information about the DNC Registry for FY 2020 (from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020). The Data Book provides the most recent fiscal year information available on robocall complaints, the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and a complete state-by-state analysis.
FY 2020 Registration and Complaint Data
According to the Data Book, at the end of FY 2020, the DNC Registry contained 241.5 million actively registered phone numbers, up from 239.5 million at the end of FY 2019. The number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls decreased, from 5.4 million in FY 2019 to nearly four million in FY 2020. Of those complaints, 71 percent were about robocalls, roughly the same percentage as last year, and 24 percent were about live telemarketing. In six percent of reports, the call type was not reported.
During the past fiscal year, the FTC continued to receive many consumer complaints about telemarketing robocalls, but the total number of complaints decreased significantly. In FY 2020, the Commission received 2.8 million complaints about robocalls, down from 3.79 million in FY 2019. 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, with the most, 332,000, coming in September of this year.
FY 2020 Data Highlights
Again this year, imposters were the topic of the robocalls consumers reported the most, with more than 423,000 complaints received. However, this represents a decrease from FY 2019, when the FTC received approximately 493,000 such complaints. This decrease is representative of the decreasing number of consumer complaints overall in FY 2020, compared to the previous year. Warranties and protection plans comprised the second-most commonly reported topic, with consumers filing more than 237,000 robocall complaints.
Calls about supposed debt-reduction made up the third-most commonly reported topic, followed by complaints about medical and prescription issues, and computers and technical support.
Registration and Complaint Data by State
With respect to state data, New Hampshire continues to top the nation in active DNC registrations per capita (93,791). The states reporting the most complaints per 100,000 population changed in FY 2020: the top five states were Arizona (1,770 per 100k population), Virginia (1,668 per 100k population), Maryland (1,644 per 100k population), Delaware (1,608 per 100k population), and Colorado (1,504 per 100k population).
Finally, to make the information in the FY 2020 Data Book more accessible for the public, updated and interactive DNC data dashboard visualizations 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 on the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2020 page.
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.