The National Do Not Call Registry may not be perfect, but it offers some serious protection for the many Americans who have signed up. Originally developed as a temporary measure to prevent telemarketers from calling home phones, various improvements to the laws during the late 2000s supporting the Do Not Call Registry have pushed it to permanent status. Additionally, the last series of revisions to those laws caused a major drop in the time window from signup to protection, moving from 90 days to 31. Along with other laws related to barring or severely limiting the use of autodialers and other nefarious telemarketer tactics, people in the U.S. are relatively well off when it comes to getting protection from unwanted calls.
How can you sign up?
Without going into too much detail, signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry is easy. To ease the process of signing up, we already have an informative, step-by-step blog post about both signing up for the DNC list and augmenting its protections with the power of Whitepages. With that info in mind, let’s dive into the question behind this post: What happens when you’re on the DNC list and you get a call from a telemarketer or other unwanted commercial source?
The DNC list works!
Do you know what you can and can’t do if it turns out a telemarketer or scammer is violating the list and calling your number? The Federal Trade Commission spells out the process in plain language on its website. If you’ve been a recent victim of an unsolicited call, here is a quick rundown of what you need to know:
- Any unsolicited commercial call – which means exceptions for surveys, nonprofit solicitations, political campaigns and debt collectors – received after your number has been on the DNC list for 31 days is grounds for a complaint. You can follow this link to the FTC’s complaint page and click the green “continue” button.
- Even if you haven’t signed up, or if you haven’t yet been on the list for 31 days, you can report commercial calls made with a recording instead of a live person. These calls are often from scam artists, so you shouldn’t have to waste your time answering and hanging up on what is likely not a legitimate call.
What happens with successful complaints?
The FTC maintains a database of press releases about major scams and violations brought to light by individuals filing complaints. Some of the most recent headlines include large judgments against legitimate companies that break the rules, as well as against businesses that are nothing more than fraudsters and schemers. These investigations all started because of complaints filed by individuals and led to serious consequences for organizations that broke the FTC’s clearly defined rules.
If you use the DNC list along with our Caller ID Android app, you’ll have even greater protection. Automated spam alerts tell you when an unfamiliar number has a high potential for fraud, squashing the possibility for calls from less-scrupulous organizations that ignore the DNC list.