The FTC needs help, and we have to do better.

FTC Telemarketing Complaint Website

The FTC has a place where you can download Do Not Call complaint data. This is a great resource, since it gives info on all the complaints that the FTC has been receiving. I’ve been downloading it for a while and looking around at it. One thing I noticed, is that we’re not doing a very good job at helping the FTC with some of these complaints.

For instance, for the last 3 weeks, the most popular number for complaints is417-567-0154. So what kind of call is this? According to one entry from, it’s from Capital Resorts. But that was only one entry out of over a dozen. Not a lot of information there. So, what does the FTC have for this number? Besides the fact that it’s a popular Robocall to complain against, it doesn’t seem that much.

The FTC asks for a “Subject” of the Telemarketing call. This information is used to help categorize calls, and if you add more information, hopefully track these people down and punish them:

FTC Complaint Subjects

FTC Telemarketing Complaint Subjects

Looking from the data from the FTC Do Not Call Complaints, it looks like we’re doing a terrible job of this. Just look at the “What was the call about” data for this number for the last three weeks:

| Subject                                                              | Complaints |
| Calls pretending to be government, businesses, or family and friends |          1 |
| Dropped call or no message                                           |          1 |
| No Subject Provided                                                  |       2111 |
| Other                                                                |          5 |

Almost every one is “No Subject Provided”. When asked by the FTC what the call was about, people didn’t select anything from the simple dropdown box. If people aren’t doing that, are we sure they are giving any other information besides the basic “It was a Robocall”? Did they listen to the message to determine how to classify the call? Apparently not. They didn’t seem to do that at, either.

I doubt they got much else for the FTC to go on. Of course, the FTC download doesn’t really provide much more information, other than nearly all the calls where reported by Texans, with only a handful from other states. Texas is in the top 3 of DNC Complaint reporters, but this number seemed to only be targeting Texans this month.

But we have to do better, as citizens. The FTC can only help us if we help them. The informed complaint you make might be the one that really helps identify the illegal telemarketer. But you have to answer the phone. You have to press ‘1’. You have to get past the “qualification agent”. You have to get to the person trying to get the money and who is really behind these campaigns.

Some people think it’s a “waste of time”. Meanwhile, they spend possibly more time complaining on on-line forums. More time programming their series of call-blocking telephones until the telemarketer starts calling from yet another number. Meanwhile, the FTC is faced with thousands of complaints from spoofed telephone numbers with nearly no information about who is placing them.

We can do this, but we have to pull together to get the intelligence on these telemarketers. And forward all that to the FTC. Give them the evidence, the information, the data they need to actually do something. They can’t do it alone.





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