Did you read our piece on robo-calls last month? It’s right HERE. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Anyway, I’m not one who responds to every problem with “There ought to be a law!” Besides, there are already laws on robo-calling, as well as a national Do Not Call registry. They just aren’t working!
So the government is getting smart for once, and asking for your help with “The Robo-call Challenge.” And they are offering a $50,000 prize!
The “robocall challenge” opens to the public on Oct. 25 and will close Jan. 17, 2013. The winner will be announced in April. The money will be awarded to the person, team or small company (it must have fewer than 10 employees) that develops the best robocall-blocking technology. The FTC says a successful entry must work, be easy to use, and be easy to implement and operate in today’s marketplace. SFGate.com
This is something I haven’t thought of in forever, since I got rid of my landline. But apparently robocalling is back, big time. Despite the big fuss, and the establishment of the “Do Not Call” registry…
Government figures show monthly robocall complaints have climbed from about 65,000 in October 2010 to more than 212,000 this April. More general complaints from people asking a telemarketer to stop calling them also rose during that period, from about 71,000 to 182,000. Associated Press
Also, telemarketers are supposed to check the registry for Do Not Call requests each month, but…
…fewer telemarketers are checking the FTC list to see which numbers are off limits. In 2007, more than 65,000 telemarketers checked the list. Last year, only about 34,000 did so. Associated Press
Part of the problem is that certain types of calls are exempt from the ban, like political calls (awfully good of the politicians to exclude those!), calls for charities, and informational calls (like the airline calling to tell you that your flight is delayed.) What the scammers do is start the call as a charity, then switch to a pitch for “learn how to clean up your credit rating!”
Also, technology is making the law obsolete. Spoof calls hide their true telephone numbers so that when you try to report them, or call them back, you get nothing.
So, what to do? I still get these calls from time to time on my cellphone. My policy is, if I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer it. They can leave a message or not. Second, there is a website I use, www.whocalled.us, where you can type in the phone number and see if there are any complaints. Also, be careful whenever you sign up for, well, anything on the web. There are often little stipulations like “May we contact you at inconvenient times to tell you about useless products and services?” Finally, you can always complain to the FTC, which I am sure is super-effective. They are at www.ftc.gov or (888) 382-1222.
So, how about you? Are you in the Registry? Do you still get these calls? How do you handle it?
A Gathering Place for MindField Online's Valued Panelists!