Everything you need to know about the National Do Not Call Registry

A press release from the BBB

Will these calls ever stop????

We have seen an increase in robocalls being reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker. From the ongoing IRS Fake Call to the new “Can You Hear Me?” scam. You just want the calls to stop! Here is information on how to help stop these annoying, and possible dangerous, calls.

What To Do If You Get a Robocall

You can reduce the number of unwanted sales calls you get by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s free. Visit donotcall.gov to register your number.

Most legitimate companies don’t call if your number is on the Registry. If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam. If you get these calls, hang up and file a complaint with the FTC.

The Basics

How do I register?

Add your phone number for free by visiting donotcall.gov, or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

If you register online, you will receive a confirmation email from donotcall.gov. You must click on the link in the email within 72 hours to complete your registration.

How long does it take?

Your phone number should show up on the Registry the next day. Most sales calls will stop once your number has been on the Registry for 31 days. You can verify that your number is on the Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222.

If I register my number, will ALL unwanted calls stop?

No, the Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls. You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls.

In addition, companies may still call if you’ve recently done business with the company, or if you’ve given the company written permission to call you. However, if you ask a company not to call you again, it must honor your request. Record the date of your request.

Stopping Unwanted Calls

What can I do to stop unwanted calls? 

Make sure your number is on the Do Not Call Registry.

Hang up on illegal sales calls. If your number is on the Registry, and you get a sales call, or you get an illegal robocall, don’t interact in any way. Don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or to talk to a live person. Doing so will probably lead to more unwanted calls.  Instead, hang up and file a complaint with the FTC.

Investigate whether call blocking can help.

  • If you get repeated illegal calls from one particular number, contact your phone company. Ask to block that number, but first ask whether there’s a fee for this service.
  • If you get unwanted calls from many different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Research whether the service costs money and whether it’s effective. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users.

My number is on the Registry, so why am I still getting illegal calls?

The FTC has seen a significant increase in the number of illegal sales calls – particularly robocalls. The reason is technology. Internet powered phone systems make it cheap and easy for scammers to make illegal calls from anywhere in the world, and to display fake caller ID information, which helps them hide from law enforcement.

What is the FTC doing to stop these calls?

To date, the FTC has sued hundreds of companies and individuals who were responsible for placing unwanted calls, and has obtained over a billion dollars in judgments against violators.

In addition, the FTC is leading several initiatives to develop a technology-based solution.  The FTC has sponsored a series of robocall contests challenging the tech savvy public to design tools that block robocalls and help investigators track down and stop robocallers. The FTC also is encouraging industry efforts to combat caller ID spoofing.

What are the penalties for breaking the law?

Those who violate the National Do Not Call Registry or place an illegal robocall can be fined up to $40,654 per call.

Reporting Illegal Calls

Where can I file a complaint about an illegal sales call or a robocall?

To file a complaint, visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

Will I hear back from the FTC regarding my complaint?

Due to the volume of complaints, the FTC cannot respond directly to every complaint. The FTC and other law enforcement agencies analyze complaints to spot trends and to identify and take action against the people responsible for these illegal calls.

I gave you the phone number that called me illegally. Why isn’t the FTC doing something?

Current technology makes it easy for scammers to fake or “spoof” caller ID information, so the number you reported in your complaint probably isn’t real.  Without more information, it’s difficult for the FTC and other law enforcement agencies to identify the actual caller. Nonetheless, the FTC analyzes complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns.

The agency also is pursuing a variety of technology-based solutions to combat illegal calls and practices.

More Details About Registering

Someone called and offered to put my name on the Registry. Should I let them?

Don’t pay anyone who claims they will register your number. Register for free at donotcall.gov.

Can I register all my family and friends?

You should register only your own telephone numbers.

What happens if I register more than one number at a time online?

You will get an email for each number you register online. You must open each email and click on the link within 72 hours to register those numbers. While we do collect an email address, it is collected only to confirm your registration. We do not keep it or store it with your phone number.

How can I register more than three phone numbers?

You may register up to three numbers at one time. If you have more than three personal phone numbers, you will have to go through the registration process again.

If you call to register, you must call from the phone number you wish to register.

Can I register my business phone number or a fax number?

The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. Business-to-business calls and faxes are not covered.

Can I take my number off the Registry?

Yes. You can delete your number by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want to delete. Your number will be off the Registry the next day, and telemarketing lists will be updated within 31 days.

If I choose to register, how will the FTC use my information?

We collect and store your phone number so telemarketers can remove your number from their call lists.

If you contact us via the internet, we also collect your email address to confirm your registration. We store your email address in a secure manner, separate from your phone number, and do not share it with telemarketers. There is no need to update or provide a new email address for your registration.

For more information about the privacy of your information, please see the FTC privacy policy.

Problems with Registration

When I called to register, the message said my number could not be verified. What should I do?

If the automated phone system can’t verify your number, please register through the website: donotcall.gov.

When I called to register, the message said the number I was calling from did not match the number I entered. What happened?

To register, you must call from the phone you want to register. People in certain communities — such as senior living centers or university residences — have phone numbers that are hidden and cannot be verified by the automated system. If you live in such a community, you can register through the website: donotcall.gov.

When You Might Need to Register Again

How long does my phone number stay registered?

Telephone numbers on the Registry don’t expire. We only remove your number when it’s disconnected and reassigned, unless you ask us to remove it.

I moved and got a new phone number. Do I need to register the new number?


Do I need to take my old phone number off the list when I get a new number?

No. The system removes numbers automatically when they are disconnected and reassigned.

What happens if my phone number is disconnected and then reconnected?

If your number is disconnected and then reconnected, you might need to re-register. You also might need to re-register if you change calling plans or change the billing name on your account. To verify that your number is in the Registry, go to www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.

If my area code changes or splits, do I need to re-register?

If the phone companies change your three-digit area code, you don’t have to re-register. Your new number will be registered for you during the 90-day period when both the old and new area codes work.

Make sure to report scam calls to BBB’s Scam Tracker.

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