If the number of complaints about them is any barometer, computer-generated “robocalls” are rising rapidly.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said on Monday that the number of formal complaints received for the first part of 2015 is 69 percent higher than it was for the first part of 2014.
“Scammers hide behind robocalls to take advantage of consumers and to disguise their identities,” Bondi said in a statement.
Bondi’s office said that generally only non-profits and political organizations are allowed to make robocalls.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, auto-dialed sales pitches for products or services require your written permission ahead of time. So, if you receive a call from Robocaller who doesn't have your written permission to call, they have violated the law. Period.
Here are some do’s and don'ts for handling a robocall.
1.) Take notes. Grab the number and remember the business name.
2.) Hang up. Trying to get to an operator is likely a mistake (see below).
3.) Register for the Do Not Call list. http://www.donotcall.gov. Is it perfect? No. But it’s all we’ve got.
4.) File a complaint. The Federal Trade Commission takes complaints here: http://www.ftc.gov/complaint
1.) Press any buttons. It’s possibly that pressing a button merely tells that caller that you are answering the phone – that’s likely an invitation for more unwanted calls.
2.) Talk to them. Some unscrupulous telemarketers will claim (incorrectly) that speaking to you gives them an invitation to continue calling. It’s possible that by simply hearing your voice they will add your number to a ‘suckers list’ that is bought and sold on the black market. Beware.
People often ask me about blocking certain phone numbers. I’m torn on this for two reasons.
First, some phone companies will assess a service charge you to block a specific number – and it might not be worth the cost. Why? Please keep reading. My second hesitation is that dishonest telemarketers regularly change their caller ID and phone number, so it’s possible your pricey call block won't do a bit of good anyway.