How to stop unwanted robocalls

How to stop unwanted robocalls

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Is your phone being bombarded with political and telemarketing robocalls?  Even though your number is on the Do Not Call Registry?

We went to the Federal Trade Commission to get you some answers and show you how to hang up on those calls for good.

"I work at home, so its disrupting my work," said Richmond resident Cheryl Pallant on receiving robocalls.

"They interrupt when you're eating, when you're talking to your family," added Joel Clark of Mechanicsville.

NBC12 heard your concerns, that you're on the Do Not Call Registry but still getting telemarketing and political calls. We went to the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. and asked the man in charge of the registry why these calls are still happening.

"What consumers are seeing is the companies that don't care about complying with the law - they aren't following the registry," said Bikram Bandy, Do Not Call Program Coordinator and Assistant Acting Director at the Federal Trade Commission.

Bandy says the FTC has sued 700 of those people and companies and obtained more than $1 billion in judgments from violators. He says the registry is working.

"What consumers don't see are all those calls that aren't reaching them," explained Bandy.

So how do you stop unwanted robocalls? Here's what we discovered:

  • Put your phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry. Remember that any telemarketing and political robocalls to your cell phone are illegal, no matter what. Report them to the FTC.
  • Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize.
  • If you do answer, don't press numbers, like the recording suggests, to be taken off their call list.

"Those are ploys the companies that are sending robocalls use to find out whether there's a live person there," said Bandy.

The FTC has held contests in recent years to spur the creation of call-blocking technology. Two winners include Nomorobo, which blocks robocalls on Voice Over Internet lines, and Robokiller, which works on cell phones and land lines.

"When consumers receive the calls, they can report them as bad calls," said Bandy. "That information can be reported to law enforcement, and it can be compiled to use as a blacklist so other subscribers to the service won't get those calls in the future."

There are also call-blocking services provided by various phone companies. Plus you can purchase devices, such as Sentry 2 and the Digitone Call Blocker Plus, or use apps on your cell phone, such as Truecaller, PrivacyStar, and HiYa.

You can also ask political campaigns and organizations to stop calling you. You just have to find their phone number and call them.

"Call them and say, 'I don't want to be on your call list anymore,'" said Bandy.

Finally, don't give your phone number to businesses, because they can sell it to more businesses that will call you.

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