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Consumer Groups Push Robocall Blocking Technology

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 12:23:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --  If you signed up for the federal "Do Not Call" list, but are still getting unwanted phone calls, you're not alone.

To many consumers, it seems like the list isn't working and it can be frustrating.

But lawmakers are taking notice.

Lawmakers got an earful on Capitol Hill on Wednesday from consumers who are fed up with getting sales calls and robocalls even though they're on the Do Not Call Registry.

Linda Blase told lawmakers during the hearing, "I've been bombarded by unwanted and irrelevant sales calls."

After she testified, Blase further explained, "I work at home. When I'm not working, I want my time to myself. Instead I get phone calls from people I don't know trying to sell me stuff I don't need or want and I can't make them stop."

Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about unsolicited robocalls are only growing.

They've nearly tripled in the last six years, from 63,000 complaints a month to 150,000 a month.

One senator called the Do Not Call Registry "ineffective."

The problem is new technologies including some apps on your smartphone allow these calls to get through. This new technology also makes it easier and cheaper for robocallers to stay one step ahead of regulators.

The FTC's Lois Greisman explained, "Bad actors have taken advantage of this relatively cheap and scaleable business model and used it to blast literally tens of millions of robocalls, illegal robocalls, over the course of one day at a cost of less than one cent per call."

The good news: there is robocall blocking technology out there. And it's something consumer groups are pushing phone companies to make available to customers.

The idea goes before the FCC for approval later this month.

In the meantime, when you do get those annoying calls, the Federal Trade Commission says hang up. Don't press buttons to talk to live person or be taken off a call list. That just leads to more calls.

Instead, file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov.

If your number is on the Do Not Call list, you may be wondering, "Why do I keep getting these calls?"

Odds are, those calls you're getting are scams. The FTC says most legitimate companies will not call you if you're on the list. And most of the complaints they get about robocalls and illegal sales calls are more often than not, scams.

So, again, just hang up.