FTC Dismantles Robocall Operations That Illegally Called Millions

Cisco Phone

Episode 1357

The FTC filed complaints against two separate robocall groups. Many of the calls, according to the FTC, were to numbers on the "Do Not Call" registry. These robocall groups were calling hundreds of millions of people in 2012 and 2013 selling home security systems or generating leads for home security installation companies. They were also doing auto warranties.


Why do I get calls that ring once before going to voicemail?

Episode 1318

Chris from Florida

Chris also wants to know why a call will ring once and then go directly to voicemail. Leo says that's an odd one and he has this happen too. Is it something the telemarketers have figured out? It could be carrier specific. Chris can sign up with the DoNotCall registry but that won't stop telemarketers from outside the country. Another option is to use Google Voice for everything, then he can program Voice to forward telemarketer calls directly to voicemail or reject them altogether.

How can I stop getting spam calls?

Episode 1309

John from California

John got a call from someone this morning and the caller ID was showing it coming from his own number. Leo says it's really easy to spoof caller ID to lure someone to answer the phone. Leo likes to use Google Voice as his main phone number, since it will reject a call if it's not in his contact list. John can put his number on the government's Do Not Call List, but most of these are from out of the country and they aren't subject to that law.

How can I get rid of telemarketers?

Episode 1305

Jerry from Pennsylvania

Jerry is using a MagicJack VOiP phone. Leo says it's very affordable at $20 a year. Jerry keeps getting telemarketer calls, though. Is there something that can block that? Leo says that telemarketers are using random dialers to call numbers, or they use lists that have been sold to them. The Feds have the DoNotCall registry, but that doesn't work for telemarketers who operate outside of the country. There isn't really a device that can block incoming unsolicited calls, but Leo advises using Google Voice.

How can I stop telemarketers?

Episode 1268

Alexander from Georgia

Dan has been getting a ton of telemarketing and robocalls lately. Is there a service that will filter them out so he doesn't have to deal with it? Leo says that Google Voice has great call screening and blocking utilities -- and it's free. Leo also says there's a new service called the Jolly Roger Telephone Company that has fun with telemarketers on your behalf.

Other options for screening calls include:

Why is my Bluetooth headset telling me one of my contacts are calling, when it's a telemarketer?

Episode 1103

Larry from Burbank, CA

Larry gets calls from telemarketers all the time over his bluetooth headset. It's very annoying. The device announces he's getting a call from one of his contacts, and when he answers it, it's a "Google specialist." Leo says that it's really easy to spoof a caller ID to prevent him from knowing who's really calling. And it's unlikely they have access to Larry's contact list in order to do that. It's more likely that his Bluetooth headset is simply misassociating the incoming call with a person in his contact list because the number is close. Carrier forwarding may also be the problem.

How can I block telemarketers from calling my cell phone?

Episode 998

George from Santa Monica, CA

George wants to know if Skype can block a call from a contact list, why can't the cellphone companies? Leo says that if telemarketers are calling him on his cellphone, it's illegal to do so. He needs to demand they put him on their DoNotCall list. By law, they have to. Leo also gets around this by using Google Voice. He should let that be his permanent number and it'll deal with it. Then he can tell Google voice to only ring his phone for his contacts only. He can tell them to ignore an unknown number and block it.