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Telemarketing & Unwanted 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 “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 of the federal Do Not Call Registry online at www.donotcall.gov,external link icon or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Legitimate companies usually honor the Do Not Call Registry and respect the wishes of people on the list not to be called. Criminals, however, typically do not honor the Do Not Call Registry. 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 Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has authority to enforce violations of the Do Not Call Registry. It also has authority to enforce federal laws regulating autodialed and prerecorded message calls, as well as interstate fraud perpetrated over the telephone. Accordingly, regardless of whether or not your telephone number is on the Do Not Call Registry, you should report unwanted or scam calls to the FTC as follows:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
(877) 382-4357
TTY: (866) 653-4261
www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov external link icon

Please note that the Do Not Call Registry exempts calls by certain organizations, such as charitable organizations and companies with which you have done business with in the preceding 18 months. For more information about the federal Do Not Call Registry and its exemptions, click here.external link icon

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 who violate federal caller ID spoofing laws. For more information about caller ID spoofing, click here.external link icon 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, DC 20554
Toll-free: 1-888-225-5322
www.fcc.gov/complaintsexternal link icon

Additional Resources

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office offers the following materials, which are designed to provide information to Minnesota citizens on phones, unwanted calls, and caller ID spoofing:

Telemarketing Scams: