How to Stop Robocalls

Some automated calls are allowed by law.

Automatically dialed telephone calls with recorded messages, known as robocalls, annoy most people with a landline. Federal and state laws forbid certain automated calls, and violators can be fined. However, you should learn what types of calls are allowed under the law before taking steps to stop ones that aren't. For example, federal law allows charities and other nonprofit organizations to use prerecorded messages when making calls. Businesses that count you as a customer may also call you with prerecorded messages. Automated calls that don't include a sales pitch or solicitation are permitted as well. This includes recorded calls related to health- and safety-related emergencies. For instance, if a weather emergency is pending, the law allows government authorities to call your residence to warn you.

Step 1

Add your phone number to the national Do Not Call Registry, which is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. Visit to the agency's website and enter your information. You can check the website later to confirm that your number is registered.

Step 2

Keep track of the phone calls you receive after you have been put on the list. Generally you must wait about 30 days for the registry to take effect. Note the date, time and details of the calls. Prerecorded calls must, by law, provide information at the beginning with the name of the business and a phone number for requesting that the calls stop.

Step 3

Call, write or email the companies that are calling. Ask to be removed from their call list. Make a note of when you made the requests. This will help you file complaints to authorities if the calls do not stop. By making a polite request, you may succeed in getting businesses that are legally allowed to call you to take you off their list.

Step 4

Report calls that continue to federal authorities or to your state attorney general's office. These agencies do not investigate specific incidents of calls, but do keep track of complaints and investigate companies that habitually break the law.

Tip

Add your home and mobile phone numbers to the Do Not Call Registry. Robocalls are prohibited to any mobile phone, but registering all of your numbers should also help reduce live telemarketing calls.

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