LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — They annoy us all, and you may get them on a weekly or even daily basis. We’re talking telemarketing, spam and robocalls.
Why do we get so many and what can we do about them?
You may notice many of these calls are from the same area code as your phone number. You might think it’s a doctor’s office, maybe your child’s school — something important. When you pick up, you learn it’s not.
Las Vegas resident Marlowe Fuller says he’s had enough.
“All of the sudden, recently, I got six in one day,” he shared. “…Trying to do stuff, and the phone is constantly bothering ya.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that more than 46,000 Nevadans filed complaints about robocalls in 2020. The state has the sixth-highest number of complaints in the nation per capita.
About 35,000 reported typical robocalls, meaning a human wasn’t on the line. More than 9,000 reported live callers.
The majority of calls are reported as imposters: think fraudsters pretending like they’re the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Warranties and protection plans are next on the list, followed by offers to reduce debt.
“We don’t want Nevada residents to be annoyed or scammed by these calls,” said Michelle Newman, senior deputy attorney general.
The Attorney General’s Office has a consumer protection division.
“Anything that’s considered a deceptive trade practice, that’s misleading, that’s fraudulent, that omits any material or information that consumers need to know, those are all items that we address,” Newman explained.
In January, Nevada was part of a federal lawsuit to take action against a charity fraud telefunding operation. The lawsuit states eight defendants reached 67 million consumers and collected donations for practically nonexistent charitable programs, including for children’s cancer, homeless veterans and fire victims.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, the operation stole about $110 million from donors, including Nevadans, while pocketing as much as 90 cents for every dollar. Court records reveal the defendants are now banned from fundraising and telemarketing, and they’re ordered to sell property and donate to charity.
Newman has some advice for consumers: just hang up, don’t dial any numbers, including an option to remove yourself from the calling list, and register your number on the do not call registry.
As of 2020, the FTC reports more than 2 million phone numbers in Nevada are actively registered on the do not call list.
The problem? Scammers ignore it.
The I-Team asked Newman if this is allowed, to which she replied:
“No. It’s not allowed.”
You can report that unwanted call.
As for Fuller, he has a long list of phone numbers. He even did some digging and tracked down one business address to an empty lot.
“I think it should be shut down, especially if it is a scam,” he said.
There are apps which can help stop the calls, and you can also block calls on your cell phone.
Another point about the do not call registry is that it does not prevent political, debt collection or informational calls.
Surveys are also allowed, and so are calls to raise money for charity. That’s tricky, though, since the scam busted this year was based on calls to raise money for charity. The fraudsters pocketed most of that money.