Still getting unwanted calls after registering with the Do Not Call list? Here's why

Posted at 8:24 AM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 05:17:36-04

The Do Not Call list does not work when it comes to blocking robo-dialers and scammers who call over and over again. The federal Do Not Call list contains 226 million numbers, yet the Federal Trade Commission took in 5 million complaints over violations last year alone.

Some consumers who have registered their numbers report they are getting as many as 10 unwanted calls a day. It is more than a distraction when the phone rings multiple times a day.

"It still does what it is intended to do," said Alan Parkinson, who heads up the do not call list in Florida. 

Parkinson says the 24-year-old registry was created as a tool for legitimate telemarketers, not scammers.

It is a tool for companies to refer to and not call people on, but typically that only works with the legitimate companies checking the list.

The Federal Trade Commission has fined violators more than one billion dollars, yet the problem continues to grow.

"For every action we bring and for every operation we shut down... Unfortunately, there's five more behind that making unwanted calls," said Janice Kopec with the Federal Trade Commission.

State and National regulators say the phone companies have real power to provide wide-scale relief from the incessant ringing.

"The industry needs to keep working on better blocking solutions available for their subscribers," Kopec said.

Feeling the pressure, phone companies formed a robo call strike force in 2016. AT&T, Frontier and Verizon along with over 30 additional companies made up the force in order to study the issue.

Verizon told ABC Action News that they are trying out a new service to help cell users identify robo callers.

AT&T says they have released a free service call AT&T Call Protect which blocks fraud calls before the reach customers' phones.

Report Unwanted Calls Here

While phone companies work on the wide-reaching solutions, ABC Action News found free tools and apps that block unwanted calls from both cell phones and landlines.

The apps will either notify you that the call is suspect or disconnect you before your phone even rings.

Free iPhone and Android apps to help block unwanted robocalls and telemarketers:

Mr. Number
True Caller 

Whenever a call comes in that you don't know, don't answer it. Just saying hello or pushing the opt-out prompt may result in more unwanted calls.

Be sure to call your own carrier to find out what, if anything, they are doing to resolve the robo dialing epidemic.