The top consumer complaint to the FCC is unwanted telephone calls. The government says complaints are on the rise from consumers whose phone numbers are being spoofed. A Knoxville woman is fed up and wonders what can be done. She says she gets calls at all hours of the night and day.
Sometimes it’s okay to get an unexpected update from your favorite charity or nonprofit, but often when companies or scammers reach out to you without your permission by phone or text, it can be more than just annoying.
LaFetta Gillett was at the end of her emotional rope the other day. She showed different area codes from which calls are made.
“I’ve won a thousand dollar Walmart gift card, Target card, gas card. You name it, I’ve won it,” she said with exasperation. “They’re calling me telling me why haven’t I called to claim my prize. I said, ‘Honey I haven’t even submitted nothing to win no prize.'”
She labeled some of the calls as disability scams. Gillett said there were live voices on the other end on the phone, not recorded ones.
“She said that I am here to inform you that your disability has been discontinued. I am calling you to verify that I know a way you can get your disability started back,” she said.
She says she gets 20 to 25 calls per day at all hours.
“Every time I start questioning them they hang up on me,” she said.
Gillett says she visited her phone provider and asked about the unwanted messages and calls.
“He said, ‘I can’t do anything about it.’ So, he told me to go to the main office. I did. They deleted everything on my phone. I’ll be dogged, as soon as I got back home, it started all over again,” Gillett said.
Gillett says she doesn’t fool with social media, so she’s eliminated that as a source of her problem.
“I don’t do all this stuff over my phone because I don’t know how,” she said.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act restricts unwanted telephone communications between businesses and you in very specific ways. The law is incredibly detailed, but two things are worth knowing.
Many commercial calls and texts from companies are illegal unless you’ve consented to them and calls made to cell phones by automatic dialing systems or prerecorded message are also illegal unless you have given consent.
Here is how to fight back under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Document the violations summarizing the conversations. Keep a log, in writing, of each of the calls you receive. Record the time and date of the calls. Ask the caller’s identity. Save all voice messages if you can.
Then file the complaint to consumercomplaints.fcc.gov. Or call toll free: 1-888-CALL-FCC.
Over the last 18 months, Gillett has bought several new phones and has even had her number changed, but she still gets the calls.
There are some other ways to help end unwanted calls. You can install a call-blocking app on your cellphone.
Even though telemarketers are supposed to reveal their phone numbers, may don’t. Blocking unknown calls is a good way to screen out the callers you don’t want to hear from.
There are also call trapping services that force the caller to show the number from which they’re dialing. Trap Call is the most popular service and works with iPhone and Android, but not landlines.