Government antes $50,000 to stop robo calls

TAMPA - The phone and fax ring every day in spite of the fact that Hal Stewart has been on the 'Do Not Call' list since 2005.

Stewart lost faith in the list and he says the Federal Trade Commission failed to respond to any of the dozens of complaints he's filed with the agency whose job is to crack down on violators.

Part of the problem is technology and auto dialers.  They allow violators to blast out millions of calls in a matter of hours and they are sometimes hard to trace.

The FTC is frustrated too, and is turning to the public for help.  The agency is offering a $50,000 cash reward for the best way to stop unwanted sales calls.  The money will go to the best technical solution to block illegal commercial robo-calls.

Meanwhile, there are other options aside from the national do not call list.

Florida runs its own do not call registry.  State regulators have cracked down on more than 100 violators, fining them more than $3 million in the last several years.

Consumers can also contact their phone provider who may offer a service to block calls.

Now if you want more information on the robo-call challenge, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at ftc.gov .

Visit the Florida Do Not Call Program at https://www.fldnc.com/ .  The national Do Not Call registry is at https://www.donotcall.gov/ .

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