Fighting Illegal Robocalls: Consumer Complaints to Aid Industry Call-Blocking Solutions

The FTC is taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power industry solutions that block illegal calls

Fighting Illegal Robocalls: Consumer Complaints to Aid Industry Call-Blocking Solutions
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August 1, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that it receives tens of thousands of consumer complaints every day related to illegal robocalls. Now, the agency will use that information to help boost industry efforts to stop unwanted calls before they reach consumers.

Aiding Call Blockers

Under a new FTC initiative, when consumers report Do Not Call or robocall violations to the agency, the phone numbers that consumers provide will be released each day to telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are implementing call-blocking solutions.

"Sharing the critical information from consumers' unwanted call complaints to enable industry innovators to stop illegal robocalls is exactly the type of public-private partnership the FTC champions," said Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC's number-one complaint category, with more than 1.9 million complaints filed in the first five months of 2017 alone. By reporting illegal robocalls, consumers will assist law enforcement efforts to stop the violators behind these calls.

Under this new initiative, the FTC says that it is also now taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power the industry solutions that block illegal calls.

Complaint Data is Crucial

The agency stresses that consumer complaint data is crucial because many of today's call-blocking solutions rely on "blacklists"—databases of telephone numbers that have received significant consumer complaints—as one way to determine which calls should be blocked or flagged before they reach consumers' phones.

The new complaint data that the FTC is making available also will include the date and time that the unwanted call was received, the general subject matter of the call (such as debt reduction, energy, warranties, home security, etc.), and whether the call was a robocall.

Filing Complaints

When filing a complaint, the FTC makes it easy for consumers to identify the subject of the unwanted call with a drop-down menu on its website. The agency says that this information is particularly helpful to law enforcement and industry.

The consumer complaint data is posted to the FTC website every weekday, with Monday postings including weekend data.

Find out more about robocalls