Overwhelmed by robocalls? Here are 5 tips to help!


4.2 billion. That’s how many robocalls (a call that uses an automated dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message) were made to U.S. households in August 2018 alone.

With an increasing number of these automated calls each month, state attorneys general have been working to crack down on this pervasive problem. However, robocallers are savvy, often using a web of networks to disguise their origin. One emerging trend is called “neighborhood spoofing,” where robocallers mimic a recipient’s area code on their caller ID to increase the likelihood they will answer the phone.

It’s clear that law enforcement must keep pace with technological advances. That’s why AG Racine has joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to strengthen protections against robocalls. The coalition urged the FCC to find ways to encourage service providers to implement security protocols that can help authenticate legitimate calls and identify illegally spoofed calls. We’re also working with telecom service providers to explore ways that providers can stop robocalls before consumers’ phones even ring. 

Below are five ways you can reduce the number of robocalls you receive:

  1. Register on the national “Do Not Call” list. While the national Do Not Call list is not a foolproof safeguard against robocallers, it is still a good first line of defense to protect yourself. You can call 888-382-1222 or visit www.donotcall.gov to register your phone number.
  2. Do not answer anonymous calls. If you do not recognize a caller, do not answer the phone and let it go to voicemail or an answering machine. Often telemarketers will keep calling a phone number if they know a live person will pick up the phone.
  3. Use a blocking service. There are call blocking smartphone apps and services offered by telephone service providers that may be used to block unwanted calls.
  4. Think twice before sharing your phone number. Each time you share your number with a sign-up list, this increases the likelihood that either the recipient will call you or will sell your number to another telemarketer.  
  5. Submit a complaint: Submit a complaint with OAG by calling (202) 442-9828 or emailing consumer.protection@dc.gov. You may also submit a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling (877) 832-4357 or visiting www.ftc.gov. Your complaints help us keep track of illegal and unwanted robocalls.

OAG works to educate the public about their rights regarding robocalls, responds to individual consumer complaints, and takes appropriate enforcement action when possible. Learn more about your rights and how to avoid telemarketing scams.