Editorial: Help fight the illegal phone calls

Mar. 12, 2013 @ 05:48 PM

They’re still calling.

“They” would be the entities that are violating North Carolina law against citizens who have registered on the Do Not Call Registry. The process is simple from a computer by visiting donotcall.gov and following the prompts. Relatively speaking, it might not take more than a minute, perhaps a couple more to get a confirmation email.

Answering the email within 72 hours is a must.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said last week “Do Not Call” was the leading complaint filed into his office. He made the announcement as part of National Consumer Protection Week.

While Cooper’s office had an increase in written consumer complaints, to more than 23,000 in 2012, it was the robocalls that led the way with more than 6,100. There were many who complained after their names were on the Do Not Call national registry.

Businesses, whether in North Carolina or beyond, are in violation if calling anyone on the Do Not Call list. Prosecution is possible, but not without complaints to Cooper’s office. We encourage everyone to let him know — that’s the job of his office.

In fact, Cooper’s office has been in a three-year battle with satellite television provider DISH involving several million calls made by the company, its dealers and representatives. Do Not Call enforcement could be significantly impacted by the decision.

The advice from Cooper’s office on robocalls is to hang up immediately. Political robocalls are included in the telemarketing calls complaints, and Cooper remains committed to making those callers respect the Do Not Call registry.

The Federal Trade Commission has offered $50,000 in prize money for anyone developing new technology that blocks robocalls.

The remainder of the complaint list had usual suspects, including lending and telemarketing fraud in the top three. Health care and home repair rounded out the top five. The top 10 also included motor vehicles, credit and collections, television services, Internet and computers, and telecommunications.

Cooper’s warning that scammers only want money at our expense should be heeded. Visit the attorney general’s website at ncdoj.gov and click on the consumer protection division, or call toll free (877) 566-7226, also known as (877) 5NO-SCAM to report complaints.