Whether pitching a product or trying to foist a scam, illegal telemarketing and robocalls are a persistent problem. But efforts to cut off the irritating calls are on the rise, from lawsuits to landline tools to cellphone apps.
On Monday, one of the newest entrants in the battle launches nationwide. Called Nomorobo.com, it's the brainchild of a
The FTC, which has been deluged by a growing mountain of complaints from U.S. consumers, is only too happy to welcome the new weapons in the war on robocalls.
"We're aware of, and extremely pleased, that potential technological solutions to help consumers block unwanted, illegal robocalls are making their way to the marketplace," said FTC spokeswoman
Other tech tools are focused on smartphones with apps -- many of which are free -- that let you block known spam callers and do reverse lookups of suspect numbers. Among the free versions are
And for the first time, Apple's recently issued operating system, iOS 7, lets iPhone users block unwanted calls.
Clearly, there's a demand for solutions. Every month, the FTC fields about 178,500 consumer complaints about telemarketing and automated robocalls.
The National Do Not Call Registry, which lets consumers sign up their home phones and cellphones, helps block most -- but not all -- telemarketing calls. As of
"DNC has been extremely successful when it comes to legitimate telemarketers," said FTC's Daffan, whose agency oversees the registry. "Legitimate companies scrub their lists against the DNC registry and do refrain from calling."
It's the bad guys who are the real problem. The Do Not Call Registry has been swamped by growing complaints about calls that still sneak through. In
In the last decade, the FTC has filed more than 100 lawsuits and slapped millions in fines against companies accused of targeting consumers with billions of illegal robocalls. Last year, in one of its biggest cases, it slapped a
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