CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Those daily annoying phone calls where someone tires to sell you a product or claims you have unpaid bills are illegal and could soon be fewer calls to your cell phone.
“Robocalls are illegal if the company is selling a good or service unless that company has permission from you to call your specific number,” said Fil de Banate with the Federal Trade Commission’s Cleveland offices.
de Banate said the Cleveland office is investigating robocalls when they come in.
In the month of November alone in Cleveland, there were 47 million robocalls sent to Northeast Ohio phones.
In 2016, Americans lost $9.6 billion in robocall scams.
The most popular robocall’s in Ohio, nearly 80% of complaints, are related to health care.
The only types of robocalls that are legal are political campaign messages, reminders from schools, and prescription notifications.
“There are a number of ways we’re combating this problem.and it’s a huge problem," de Banate explained.
This week, the TRACED Act was signed into law. It requires phone companies to verify and authenticate incoming calls. That way, you can know which calls are legitimate.
There are also a few other things you can do to protect yourself.
- If you get a robocall, don’t answer it.
- If you happen to pick-up and realize it’s a robocall, hang up.
- Download an app like YouMail to stop robocalls from even getting through.
- Report the robocall to the FTC.
The FTC is suing robocallers.
“Sopping the scam. Stopping the robo-caller, getting them under court order so that they can’t do that again," de Banate said.
To report a robocall call the FTC or the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad at 216-443-SCAM.