Minnesota Attorney General's Office
1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
M - F 8 am - 5 pm
Tips For Reporting Unwanted Phone Calls
TIPS FOR REPORTING UNWANTED PHONE CALLS
Many people have received unwanted calls from unknown callers at one time or another. Callers increasingly use modern technology--including throw-away cell phones and “spoofed” telephone numbers--to conceal the location from which they are calling. In many cases, the calls are made by criminal enterprises attempting to commit theft or fraud. In most cases, these criminals live in other states or countries.
An unwanted call may appear on caller ID as a “private” or “unknown number,” or the phone number that appears on caller ID may be a fake number. People who call back the phone number that appears on their caller ID often receive a message that the number is busy or disconnected. In other cases, the phone number may work for a short period of time while it is answered by the criminal.
If you receive unwanted calls, you should file reports with the following agencies and provide as much information as you can about the time, date, and nature of the call:
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. You may list your number on the federal “Do Not Call Registry” online at www.donotcall.gov, or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Legitimate companies usually honor the “Do Not Call” list and respect the wishes of people on the list not to be called. Criminals, however, typically do not honor the “Do Not Call” list. These criminals are bent on stealing people’s money (a crime) and are not dissuaded by the fact that a person’s number is on the “no call” list.
The “Do Not Call” law is a federal law and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). You should report violations of the federal “Do Not Call” law to the FTC as follows:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
Toll free: 1-877-382-4357
Note that the federal “Do Not Call” law exempts calls by certain organizations, such as charitable organizations and businesses with which you have done business with in the preceding 18 months. For more information about the federal “Do Not Call” law and its exemptions, go to http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email.
The FTC also has the authority to enforce federal laws regulating auto-dialed and pre-recorded message calls, as well as interstate fraud perpetrated over the telephone. Accordingly, regardless of whether or not your phone number is listed on the “Do Not Call Registry,” you may wish to report unwanted phone calls to the FTC.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has the authority to enforce federal laws regulating caller ID spoofing. It may impose financial penalties against individuals in the United States that violate federal caller ID spoofing laws. For more information about caller ID spoofing laws, go to www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing. You should report caller ID spoofing to the FCC as follows:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
Web Site: www.fcc.gov