FTC Escalates the Fight against Illegal Robocalls Using Consumer Complaints to Aid Industry Call-Blocking Solutions
Every day American consumers report tens of thousands of illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission, and now the FTC is helping put that information to work boosting industry efforts to stop unwanted calls before they reach consumers.
Under a new initiative announced by the FTC, when consumers report Do Not Call or robocall violations to the agency, the robocaller phone numbers consumers provide will be released each day to telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are implementing call-blocking solutions.
“Sharing the critical information from consumers’ unwanted call complaints to enable industry innovators to stop illegal robocalls is exactly the type of public-private partnership the FTC champions,” said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.
Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 1.9 million complaints filed in the first five months of 2017 alone. By reporting illegal robocalls, consumers help law enforcement efforts to stop the violators behind these calls. In addition, under the initiative announced today, the FTC is now taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power the industry solutions that block illegal calls.
The consumer complaint data is crucial because many of today’s call-blocking solutions rely on “blacklists” — databases of telephone numbers that have received significant consumer complaints — as one way to determine which calls should be blocked or flagged before they reach consumers’ phones.
The new data that FTC is making available also will include the date and time the unwanted call was received, the general subject matter of the call (such as debt reduction, energy, warranties, home security, etc.), and whether the call was a robocall.
When filing a complaint, the FTC makes it easy for consumers to identify the subject of the unwanted call with a drop-down menu on its website. This information is particularly helpful to law enforcement and industry. The data is posted to the FTC website every weekday, with Monday postings including weekend data, and is available on the Do Not Call (DNC) Reported Calls Data webpage.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow us on Twitter(link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz(link sends e-mail)
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection