You may have noticed an increase in unwanted sales calls or texts now that you are staying or working from home because of the pandemic. What can you do to stop them?
National Do Not Call Registry
First, register all your phone numbers, landline and cell, on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. This list only applies to sales calls and texts. On this site, you can also check to see if you have registered your phone number(s). Your phone number will appear on the Do Not Call List the day after you register; however, it may take up to 31 days for the companies to quit calling to sell you something.
Once the 31 days have passed, should you still receive a sales call, simply tell the caller to “take my number off the company’s call list as this number is on the DO NOT CALL REGISTRY” and then hang up.
Make a copy of any illegal texts that you receive. You then should report the sales call or text violation to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Those who violate the National Do Not Call Registry can be fined. For more information visit The Federal Trade Commission Do Not Call Registry.
Florida Do Not Call List
If you live in Florida, also register your phone number(s) on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Do Not Call List. Similarly, should you receive a sales call or text, you can file a complaint.
Consumers are getting more and more unsolicited “robocalls,” where instead of a live person making the call, it is a recorded message. If the recording is a sales message and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from that company, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone call being illegal, the pitch is often likely a scam.
Companies are using autodialers, computer assisted calls, to send out thousands of calls a minute at an incredibly low cost. You can recognize an autodialed call by the delay in anyone speaking after you have answered the phone. However, many companies do not first screen telephone numbers to see if they are on the Do Not Call Registry before loading them into the autodialer. If a company does not care about obeying the law, the likelihood that it is a scam is greatly increased. These calls should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and The Florida Do Not Call List.
Starting January 11, 2020, under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act or “TRACE”, penalties have been increased as well as the time period for the FTC to prosecute.
Keep a journal of the illegal calls and texts with the date, time of day, company calling, phone number of the caller, and any details about what is said. Keep a copy of all illegal sales texts.
Terrell Hogan represents consumers who receive these illegal calls and texts under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. (“TCPA”). Consumers may recover $500.00 per illegal call and $1,000.00 per illegal call made willfully.