Courtesy of Campbell Law Observer
By Forum Staff
Citing a heavy backlog of constituent complaints regarding unwanted phone calls, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) recently encouraged District 15 residents to explore resources for reducing or eliminating these calls through the federal “Do Not Call Registry” and their own service
“Nuisance phone calls are the top complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, and I’m sure every one of has received unwanted communications on both our landline and cell phones,” said Addabbo. “Not only are they annoying, but many calls are placed by would-be identify thieves hoping to obtain personal information from consumers and gain access to their finances, credit, health records, social security numbers, and other sensitive data.”
The senator noted that the first step any consumer should take is to register both landline and cellular phone numbers on the federal “Do Not Call Registry.” This service is free of charge and is intended to reduce the number of telemarketing calls placed to consumers. Once a phone number is added to the registry, it will remain there until the consumer indicates otherwise. Interested individuals may enroll online at donotcall.gov, or call the registry from the phones they want to register at (888) 382-1222 (TTY: (866) 290-4236.) Illegal sales calls may also be reported to the website or toll-free phone number.
Addabbo noted that the FTC and other organizations concerned with consumer privacy also offer these tips for addressing unwanted calls, including illegal robocalls:
Hang up on illegal sales calls or robocalls. Don’t press any buttons to be taken off the call list or talk to a live person. It will probably lead to more unwanted calls. File a report with the FTC.
Talk to your landline or cell phone service provider to learn about call blocking services, which may be free of charge or come with a fee. Those using internet-based phone services (or Voice over Internet Protocol systems) offered by cable companies should contact their providers to ask about call blocking opportunities.
Regardless of a person’s phone or system, ongoing nuisance calls should be reported to their provider’s “annoyance department,” which may be able trace and stop specific callers.
iPhone users can turn to the “Do Not Disturb” feature to silence calls from people not included in their contact lists. Android users can set their phones to “Privacy Mode” and use other features to stop or block unwanted calls.
“While calls from certain charitable organizations and political entities, as well as businesses that have pre-existing relationships with a consumer, are exempt from the anti-telemarketing laws, the Do Not Call Registry can certainly help reduce sales calls,” Addabbo added. “Registration usually takes about a month to go into effect. I also encourage my constituents to report unwanted calls to the FTC so that the agency can attempt to find the callers and slap them with fines for violating the law.”
For more information, visit fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-calls-texts-and-faxes. This Federal Communications Commission site features specific call-blocking resources for consumers to research.