FTC announces major crackdown on robocalls

The Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement plan to file charges against several companies and individuals as part of a major government clampdown on illegal robocalls

The mission, known as “Operation Call it Quits,” includes two FTC commissioners from the opposite ends of the political spectrum: Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a Democrat, and Noah Phillips, a Republican.
The government says that there are tens of billions of robocalls made every year — and when it comes to those calls, Phillips said, there’s no political disagreement “whatsoever…”

November 19, 2018

It is estimated that by early next year, nearly 50 percent of all the calls you get on your cellphone will be robocalls. Last month alone, more than five billion robocalls were made.

Lawmakers last week proposed bipartisan legislation to fine scam robocallers up to $10,000 per call; and the FCC is demanding telecommunications companies lay out their plans to meet new standards, so that scam calls can be identified and stopped.

CBS News asked major companies what they’re doing to stop illegal robocallers and one, T-Mobile, offered to show us…

July 5, 2018

The plague of robocalls is getting worse. Consumers received more than 18 billion in 2017, a 75 percent increase from the year before. They are the number one consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It receives more than 200,000 protests a year, and robocalls make up roughly 60 percent of all complaints to the FCC.

“I get about five or six robocalls per week. The area codes are from all over the country,” Carol Berkow said. She is one of millions of Americans plagued by robocalls daily, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner….

May 18, 2018

Robocall scams have found new prey. The latest aim at the Chinese immigrant population by preying on their fears about their status in the U.S.

English speakers who get the calls have no idea what’s being said. But Mandarin speakers who answer would hear news that their immigration status may be in jeopardy.

The scam goes something like this: A Mandarin speaker tells the individual that this call is from the Chinese consulate. The person is told the consulate has an important document that must be picked up. That document could affect her status in the U.S. She should press any key to get more information…

February 24, 2018

ELK GROVE, Calif. — Emergency dispatchers in Elk Grove and Sacramento County are seeing an influx of false alarm 911 calls from an Apple repair and refurbishing center off Laguna Boulevard, CBS Sacramento reports. Dispatchers said the calls started in October 2017, and there’s usually no one on the other line.

“We’ve been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple,” said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson. “We’re able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location.”…

February 6, 2018

Only a few days into the tax-filing season, the IRS is sounding an alarm about a new tax scam. Specifically, it’s warning tax preparers to be on guard about the scam, which is aimed at stealing taxpayers’ refunds by using data compromised in tax preparers’ offices. 

The agency said it has already received a number of fake tax returns that had accurate taxpayer names, addresses, Social Security numbers and even bank account information for the victims…

December 19, 2017

More people than ever have signed up for the “Do Not Call Registry,” which is supposed to stop telemarketers from bothering you. But spam phone calls continue to burgeon, thanks to illegal robocalls. 

During 2017, Americans fielded 76 percent more robocalls than they did in 2016 — for a total of 18 billion, according to a new analysis by Hiya, a robocall blocking service. That’s despite the fact that the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry has grown by nearly 4 million phone numbers over the course of the past year. 

September 16, 2017

As if an Equifax data breach affecting more than 140 million customers wasn’t unsettling enough, consumers must be doubly vigilant following news of the massive mishap, experts warn. Even if you were wise enough to put an immediate fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit files, con artists are likely to go into hyperdrive finding new ways to take advantage of the hack and the publicity surrounding it.

“Don’t panic. But be vigilant,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. “With this breach, criminals have everything they need to victimize you.”…

August 1, 2017

Your phone rings. You don’t recognize the number, but you answer anyway. “Hello, hello?” Then a prerecorded voice comes on the line: “Congratulations! You’ve been selected to receive at absolutely no cost to you free installation of aluminum siding for your home, along with a set of solar panels …”

By this point, if you have any common sense, you’ve already hung up. But you wonder: How could this happen since you’ve already signed up for the “do not call” list? And why are these scammers allowed to annoy me?…

May 11, 2017

More than 29 billion robocalls bombarded Americans last year.

That amounts to roughly 90 robocalls for every man, woman and child, with some getting several calls each day.

In a rare interview, CBS News correspondent Anna Werner speaks with new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and goes inside the new effort to stop these calls to your home, cell phone or office…