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Have you gotten a call from an imposter, maybe someone pretending to be with the Social Security Administration, IRS, or a tech support company, this year? If so, you’re not alone. Calls from imposters were the most-reported topic of unwanted calls to the FTC over the past year (FY2019).

You can see our annual report on Do Not Call complaints, with state-specific data. But here are some key takeaways:

  • The FTC got 5.4 million complaints about unwanted calls this year.
  • 71% of complaints reported the call was a robocall.

  • Calls from imposters are now the most-reported type of unwanted call, with 574,000 complaints.

  • After imposters, the next most-reported topics were calls about medical issues and prescriptions, as well as reducing debt.

  • The states with the most consumer complaints (per 100,000 population) were Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, New Jersey, and Nevada.

  • The Do Not Call Registry now has 239.5 million numbers on it. More than 4 million of those were added over the past year.

infographic for Fiscal Year 2019 Do Not call databook

Find out more about what’s happening in your state. But remember — you don’t need to wait for our annual report to know what’s happening. As we told you this summer, the FTC’s Do Not Call data is now available in an interactive format at ftc.gov/exploredata, and is updated quarterly.

The FTC continues to go after the companies and scammers behind these calls, so please keep reporting unwanted calls at donotcall.gov (or, if you’ve lost money to a scam call, at ftc.gov/complaint instead). We take the phone numbers you report and release them to the public each business day, which helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking and call-labeling solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.

To find out more about how to get fewer calls and avoid scams, check out the articles, videos, and infographics at ftc.gov/calls, and share them with your family and friends.

63 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

resident.
October 17, 2019
Ftc you need to push real business like medical office , hospital, nys attorney general etc if they call you or reply your call they must not show unknow, or whatever that make it look like its a robocall or scam that make us don’t pick up and file their call whichnis real and important into do not call. These are opps important call to us and we did not pick up because caller id show it look like robocall. Please do something to work around real important calls that comes over looking like robocall. Thanks
Dan SwiatekDon…
October 20, 2019

In reply to by resident.

We agree with your statement. You can say it is a law in the house unless we know you or your company or you do not speak we do not answer. If we see your number more than once you are put on our do not call lust. I also believe that the ftc should hold the telephone companies partially responsible since most of the numbers listed for the calls are discontinue or vacant numbers,
BevWms
October 17, 2019
Our land line and our cell numbers have been registered several years yet we still receive multiple robocalls and scam calls and texts every day. Do you have any other suggestions/advice?
jsl
October 18, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

Here's a problem I found when blocking calls - the number they use isn't always the real number the call is coming from. I have tried calling the number, when I knew the number was a cell number issued by Verizon and got a message that the number was "Disconnected or No Longer In Service". That indicates to me that they are forwarding their Robocalls to an invalid number to be sent from that number so we can't actually block them. We can go through the motions of blocking them, but it really does nothing.
Carl Bowles
October 18, 2019

In reply to by jsl

Thanks for the update I will be on guard robo callers are endlessly creative.
ARMom
November 11, 2019

In reply to by jsl

At this rate, as much as my husband & I are blocked the fake numbers (even aware of tactic), no one who ever legitimately uses the numbers will never contact us. They literally call us at the same time & we can speaker chorus them...
senior2825
October 17, 2019
I've been registered with Do Not Call for over a dozen years. I do not know why the registry does not work, but it does not work. I still get between 4 and 10 calls a day from dealers trying to sell senior oriented services, house or car services and financial services. Apparently these types of businesses are not included in the registry. it does do good to tell the FCC or the IL States Attorney because they spoof calls. Congress could care less. Stop spending tax money on this registry. It does not work.
FTC Staff
October 17, 2019

In reply to by senior2825

The National Do Not Call Registry was created to stop unwanted sales calls from real companies. The Registry is a list that tells companies the numbers they should not call. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. The Registry can’t stop calls from scammers who ignore the Registry.

If your phone number is on the Registry and you're getting a lot of unwanted calls, the calls are probably from scammers.

ConcordT
October 17, 2019

In reply to by senior2825

The DNC List is ineffective handling calls originating out of the country - which are many. VOIP calls can originate from anywhere in the world.
Randall
October 17, 2019
I receive Multiple call all day long, my greeting spells out THIS IS A do not call registered number, DO NOT CALL, they leave messages, anyway, suggesting or threatening, and I report them, that does not seem to help deter the callers, are they stooped or Brain Dead ? I don't know what the answer is.
Laura Tils
October 17, 2019
It would be great if phones had a feature to flag spam - similar to email’s feature. i’ve got literally hundreds of blocked phone numbers. i’d be willing to provide those numbers to carriers so they could shut them down and / identify & penalize the owner!
Benician resident
October 17, 2019
Last time I reported a caller, it took about 1/2 hour. The form had too many questions. Besides that, until we eliminate caller-ID spoofing, what good does it do to report the calling number? I understand that there is something in the works that will eliminate Caller-ID spoofing. As I recall, it was supposed to be implemented by the end of this year. That needs to happen!
FTC Staff
October 17, 2019

In reply to by Benician resident

There's a quick way to report unwanted calls at DoNotCall.gov.

The only information you have to give is:

  1. your phone number
  2. the date you got the call.

You can choose to give more information of course, and that can help law enforcement, even if the call came from a spoofed phone number.

Sometimes the FTC and other law enforcement agencies can still trace a call based on information you provide. Your complaint helps because the FTC analyzes complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns. We use additional information you report, like the number you're told to call back, to track down scammers

A quiet man in…
October 17, 2019
I'd rather you worked with ISPs and carriers to ban spoofing numbers and register allowed numbers only (medical appointments reminders and similar useful calls). It is much easier to allow specified callers and block all others than play whack a mole with spammers and extra-territorial robocallers.
itaylo01
October 17, 2019
Can a legal decree be issued to stop people from calling our phones? It is ridiculous the number of calls I get in one day, and I do not know the people nor have I done business with them. I have been home sick in the bed and this is more annoying when one is not well. You finally fall asleep and are resting, soon to be awakened by someone you do not know.
FTC Staff
October 17, 2019

In reply to by itaylo01

There are ways for you to block calls. Read about how to block unwanted calls on a mobile phone, landline phone or if you get phone service over the internet (VoIP). You might be able to send all calls to voice mail, or to create a list of the only numbers that may ring through to you.

michellesh
October 17, 2019
I appreciate the helpful emails you send out weekly keeping the public informed on the latest scams! Great Job!
streetrodguy
October 17, 2019
I just got a call from Readers Digest saying I had won 4.8 million and to call them, which I didn't.
RRS
October 17, 2019
The Do No Call Registry is NO HELP! Too many bots calling now.
PAM
October 17, 2019
I am dealing with a serious illness in our household and these calls make it all the more frustrating as I do not want to miss a call from a dr office. Sometimes they start out with a statement that they are our patient advocate which can be misleading for someone who possibly would think it is a nurse calling. Normally I never answered from unknown callers but now it is different. Hope we can put an end to this invasion of our privacy. We pay for phone service and then have to put up with these calls all day long.
Carol
October 17, 2019

In reply to by PAM

Pam, I am dealing with medical problems ,also. I have received as many as 35 calls a day. They have started as early as 8:30, which is illegal for their business(?). I call it harassment! I am also on the do-not-call registry and have been for years. I wish someone could sue somebody to make this a reality.
From Roscat
October 19, 2019

In reply to by PAM

Roscat | October 18, 2019 | reply At least for a cell phone, one way to not miss calls you actually want, is to add them to your contact list. My doctors, cable company, ac/heater tech, nurse, massage therapist, oxygen machine company, Allstate, etc. are all on my contact list so their name shows with the number and I never miss calls that I want.
HUGH GAUTIER
October 17, 2019
Sorry, but the "Smartphone" is only as smart as the person inputting into it. Therefore I use a flip-phone with NO INTERNET capability. Your having an interactive website is done with the thinking that users will be using a "Smartphone" to view your site, I'll do it from my desktop system.
DoNotCall
October 17, 2019
We have had both our cell and land lines on the Do Not Call list for a long time , but it has no effect. We get daily robo calls from scammers, charities political offices etc. We do not want to be contacted by any of these. We are retirees on a fixed income. We hang up as soon as we know that the caller is one of these. How can they be stopped?
FTC Staff
October 18, 2019

In reply to by DoNotCall

Some calls are still allowed when your number is on the Do Not Call Registry. That includes calls from charities, political calls, calls from debt collectors, purely informational calls (like an airline calling to say your flight is delayed), and surveys. A charity or fundraiser should cooperate if you ask them to take you off their calling list.

The Registry stops sales calls from real companies. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. The Registry can’t stop calls from scammers who ignore the Registry. This article tells more about the Registry.

bob m
October 17, 2019
what ever you are doing is not working. i get many robo calls each day on my home phone and cell phone. the solution is simple, prevent the calls from being made at the phone company. i sure if we can put men in space we can stop this! you will not do this because too much money is being made by the phone company on these calls.
KFins
October 17, 2019
Blocking calls is fine but I quickly filled the quota allowed by my plan.
virginialady857
October 17, 2019
I don't answer my phones anymore because of these damn calls. That's the only way I've been able to deal with repeated calls from unknown numbers is to report and block all of them.
userinmaryland
October 17, 2019
Spoofed calls, all day long, usually in groups of the same/similar number for a few weeks.
Privacy invasion
October 17, 2019
Who do we write to get cell numbers private? I am told Congress voted to have cell numbers released to the public and that is how all these scammers get access to everyone. Can this law be reversed or fixed?
FTC Staff
October 17, 2019

In reply to by Privacy invasion

No, there isn't a law that cell phone numbers must be released to the public, and the government hasn't released mobile phone numbers to telemarketers. If you heard a rumors like that, they're false.

You register a mobile phone number the same way you do all your phone numbers. There’s no separate list or database for mobile phones. There’s no deadline for registering mobile phone numbers. Registrations for mobile phone numbers don’t expire.

Rangeryder
October 17, 2019
What can I say, I received 8 - 12 UNWANTED calls a day on my landline. The only blessing is caller ID. The angry part it is the same numbers (mostly) every day. SOME ACTUAL LEAVE A MESSAGE. Anyway, when I bored or need cheering up, I listen and give strange answers - makes it hard not to chuckle or laugh.
theydon'tcare
October 17, 2019
For years, we've received daily calls from home improvement specialists and building contractors. We're obviously on a list they purchased. I've always assumed they got our name from one, or more, of the contractors we received estimates from. They either don't check against the Do Not Call list or don't care . The second I inform them of this they hang up, and in short order, another one calls.
Petricia
October 17, 2019
I am getting up to 4 calls or more a day frommy own phone number( not made by me). Most times no one is on the call, but other times it is about a Microsoft problem. I know other people having the same issue.....can't report my own number.
AnnieG
October 18, 2019
I would like for the investors to stop calling texting and sending email that they want to buy my home.
Roscat
October 18, 2019
At least for a cell phone, one way to not miss calls you actually want, is to add them to your contact list. My doctors, cable company, ac/heater tech, nurse, massage therapist, oxygen machine company, Allstate, etc. are all on my contact list so their name shows with the number and I never miss calls that I want. Thanks, FTC for all you do to help stop these super annoying, intrusive calls. I decline the call and they leave a message anyway. Grrr
Susan
October 18, 2019

In reply to by Roscat

I too add callers I want to answer to my contact list. I then set the "do not disturb" feature to allow calls only from those contacts. All other calls do not ring through. Usually they do not leave a message. I sometimes have to temporarily turn that off if I'm expecting a call and do not know the number, but for the most part, I do not get bothered by unwanted calls.
lrp1951
October 18, 2019
I find that I ignore more calls than I answer! I have been receiving calls that appear to be my own phone number calling me. These calls in particular are relentless. They will call 6 - 15 times in a row - wait a while then start again. So Frustrating!
MechanicalB
October 18, 2019
The one thing I would suggest is do NOT sign up for anything that is "free" or "promotional". This will put you on calling lists and you will get calls because the fine print says you are signing up to receive calls. Don't register for "giveaway's", "prizes", or a "chance to win" for the same reason. The fewer places / companies that have your number, the less likely you will get spam calls or calls in general. Don't create accounts with businesses if you don't need too. If a business gets compromised and they have your phone number, you are probably going to get more calls. Also remember that sending a text for a giveaway also gives that company your phone number.
Dona
October 18, 2019
I keep getting calls from "Exfinity" or "Comcast." It is not either one of them but their #s being used. A foreign voice says my name.
Kookie
October 18, 2019
I realize this is about calls and I continue to block every call that I can. But now these crooks are texting me too. I can’t always tell what number they are texting from. I’m also getting daily emails with logo from every bank in the country saying my account has been blocked due to suspicious activity—with a link to restore my account. I don’t have accounts with any of them.
Zorba
July 17, 2020

In reply to by Kookie

SPAM Texts is what made me finally turn off texting for good - I seldom used it anyway, and "suddenly" I was getting several per day!
Ron in Austin
October 19, 2019
Not interested in the voluminous statistics, what is seriously being done by the FTC to prosecute and eliminate the spam, scam, and fraudulent calls. So far the FTC has Failed To Convict.
FTC Staff
October 21, 2019

In reply to by Ron in Austin

Follow the link in the blog that explains how the FTC continues to go after the companies and scammers behind these calls. Learn how, to date, the Commission has brought 134 enforcement actions against companies and telemarketers for Do Not Call, abandoned call, robocall and Registry violations. To date, 121 of these FTC enforcement actions have been resolved, and in those cases the agency has recovered over $50 million in civil penalties and $71 million in redress or disgorgement.

Patsy
October 19, 2019
DO NOT CALL is a very poor system. I finally have software whereby I set my phone up 1) if a robo call comes in my robot hangs up after one ring; 2) I have put in 25 numbers to ignore even if not a robo call (that is the max); and 3) if a call rings 3 times I have time to look at the phone number, and if the number is not one I am familiar with I just ignore it. Three rings is a maximum I have chosen.
BritMkFee
October 22, 2019

In reply to by Patsy

Also: MAKE SURE YOU UNLIKE ANY PAGES ON FB YOU FELT COMPELLED TI THUMBS UP! That’s how they catch u in the first place!
Tired of block…
October 19, 2019
I am so tired of blocking calls. I'm tired of my phone ringing period. I know when my relatives call. These other people are calling to scam us. I have nomorobo.com on my landline and the spoofers still get through. They're so smart that they don't wait for you to say "Hello", they just play an automated message. I've received "spoofed" calls regarding Medicare from cellphones and from people who don't even bother to change the name of the person who originally had the phone number. The phone companies must be selling a block of old/unused phone numbers to unscrupulous telemarketers who just don't care who they call. They hire people to make these calls. It's just a job to them. I know Alexander Graham Bell never expected his invention to become a nuisance.
freedayz
October 19, 2019
The "Do not call registry" does not work...the callers just use a new phone number and call again. Such a nuisance...I don"t have time to report every call. If I don't recognize the number I don't answer, if you know them they will leave a message.