Let Joe Know: How to stop annoying robocalls

You might remember "Rachel from Cardholder Services," the robocall voice recording that's been dogging thousands of people for years.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has called Rachel "public enemy number one."

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne joined the FTC late last year in filing a lawsuit against some of the people they say are behind these calls.

In the state's lawsuit, Horne accuses half a dozen companies of violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, Telephone Solicitations Act, and Credit Services Act for trying to get consumers to buy into a "credit card interest rate reduction scheme that has defrauded thousands of consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars through illegal robocalling," the suit says.

But the calls continue.

After I let you know about the efforts to stop the infamous "Rachel calls," I heard from a lot of you. It's clear that you're mad as heck and want to know how to stop these calls.

YOU LET ME KNOW

Carolyn wrote me, saying she gets "Rachel" calls dozens of time a week. And Ralph from Avondale says he's reported them more than 100 times to authorities.

Some of you have found some pretty interesting ways that to stop getting these calls.

Gary Macci wrote with a clever idea. With any telemarketing calls he gets, he said, he goes to this website: http://stuff.gigo.com/phone/ and plays back one of the key recordings it provides: "We're sorry, you have reached a number that is disconnected or is no longer in service," it says.

Gary says, if you play that recording when a telemarketer calls, they take your number off their list.

Richard wrote to tell me he uses the Digitone call blocker to stop robocalls that come to his landline. You can buy it online for about $90 and it blocks up to 80 phone numbers.

Of course, most robocalls seem to come from "spoofed" phone numbers, so it can be hard to pick which ones to block.

DOES THE DO NOT CALL LIST WORK?

Calvin wrote to say that we all need to contact our legislators and demand laws with more teeth to stop telemarketers and robocall operations.

Margaret tells me she did just that, and she emailed the Federal Communications Commission as well to ask why putting your number on the Do Not Call Registry doesn't work.  

And she may have a point-- I looked into this in 2011 , and I found that there were very few actions taken against violators of the Do Not Call Registry when compared to the sheer number of complaints about it.

The FTC held a contest recently asking for ways to stop robocalls, and the winners also had some great ideas. Check them out and you might be able to avoid that next dreaded call from "Rachel."

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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