Robocalls and how to stop them

The FCC defines robocalls as “unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones, and all autodialed or prerecorded calls or text messages to wireless numbers, emergency numbers, and patient rooms at health care facilities.” The FCC regulates robocalls, along with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Per the FCC’s rules, businesses must “obtain your written consent – on paper or through electronic means, including website forms, a telephone keypress – or a recording of your oral consent before it may make a prerecorded telemarketing call to your residential phone number or make an autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing call or text to your wireless number.” 

No. Businesses and organizations can make informational robocalls to your landline phone (e.g., school closings and flight information) without your permission. Also, robocalls for emergency purposes, which the FCC defines as those “made necessary in any situation affecting the health and safety of consumers,” can be made to your landline and wireless phone without your permission. However, according to the FCC, “all non-emergency robocalls, both telemarketing and informational, require a consumer's permission to be made to a wireless phone. These calls can include political, polling, and other non-telemarketing robocalls.”

Click here for additional information about robocalls from the FCC

The FTC offers the following advice for consumers receiving robocalls:

  • “Hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
  • Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number, and whether they charge for that service. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.
  • Report your experience to the FTC online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 or by calling 1-888-382-1222.“

There are four primary things you can do to stop receiving robocalls and prevent yourself and others from receiving them in the future:

 

Are you receiving unwanted calls from live telemarketers? Let OPC know, and we can forward your complaint to the DC Attorney General’s Office.