FTC announces robcall crackdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBCNC) – Robocalls are annoying at best. At worst, they’re scams that cost Americans millions of dollars each year. Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission said it’s cracking down on some of the worst offenders.

Jerry Wilds is still reeling from a financial headache that all started with a robocall. “It was scary,” she said. “They do spoof numbers, it looks like a local call you’re getting.”

She’s just one of the millions of Americans bombarded with robocalls every day

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith said, “Our message is simple: it’s time to call it quits.”

The FTC announced a collaboration with law enforcement Tuesday called “Operation Call It Quits,” cracking down on those insufferable pre-recorded telemarketing calls with 94 actions against operations responsible for more than one billion robocalls.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill explained, “We will never stem the tide until we prove we have the resolve and wherewithal to make offenders pay.”

The latest enforcement sweep is a step in the right direction. Complicating that effort is that many of those offenders operate overseas, making up a large part of the 25 billion robocalls already this year.

Director Smith said, “If you hear recorded sales pitch, hang it up. The call is illegal.” Avoid pressing buttons or speaking, which could confirm an active number and lead to more calls.

http://www.ftc.gov/calls has tips to reduce phone spam including how to use blocking apps and tools from carriers. And if a robocall gets through, report it to the FTC. “The more data we have, the better we can target law enforcement efforts,” Director Smith said.

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