Robocalls compromise privacy and public safety, undermine the federal Lifeline telecommunications program by using up low-income consumers' limited minutes, and subject vulnerable consumers to harassing and intrusive telemarketing and debt collection tactics. NCLC works to defend and strengthen consumer laws, particularly the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), to protect consumers from abusive and illegal practices.
State-by-State Robocall Data (2017)
The problem is worse than it seems. Hover over your state on the map below to see just how many robocalls were made to your friends and neighbors last year (total appears below the map). Many of these calls were made illegally, to cell phones without consent.
Source: YouMail, Robocall Index (2017)
The Federal Communications Commission has taken aim at scam and spoofed (disguised number) calls but receives frequent requests for exemptions from consumer protection laws from some of the largest banks, telemarketers, and debt collectors. Data shows that large banks and credit card companies consistently rank among the top sources of robocalls. Legitimate businesses making illegal calls to cell phones without consent has led to 2017 being the worst year on record for robocalls.
** Callers appearing more than once made outbound calls from more than one number. Source: YouMail, Robocall Index (2018)
Take Action! Have you or a loved one been harassed by a bank or debt collector with robocalls to your cell phone? Help #EndRobocalls.
Policy Briefs, Reports & Press Releases
- Press Release: NCLC Attorney Margot Saunders Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Stopping Abusive Robocalls; Urges FCC to Strengthen Key Federal Privacy Law, April 18, 2018
- Press release: D.C. Court Decision: Ball is Now in FCC Chairman Pai’s Court to Protect Consumers from Robocalls, March 16, 2018
- Press release: Advocates to FCC: Do More, Much More to Block Unwanted Robocalls, Feb. 23, 2018
- Press release: Robocall Problem Even Worse than FTC Data Shows, Jan. 4, 2018
Comments and Testimony
- Testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding the Escalating Problem of Unwanted Robocalls and What To Do About It, April 18, 2018
- Consumer groups comments to the FCC re: Advanced Methods to to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, Feb. 22, 2018
- Consumer group comments to the FCC re: Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls, Jan. 23, 2018
- Group letter urging FCC to Initiate Enforcement Action Against Navient for Violations of the TCPA, June 14, 2017 Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2
- Group letter to U.S. Senate supporting S 3026 ROBOCOP Act to reduce robocall abuses and opposing S 2644 FCC Reauthorization Act to weaken TCPA, Nov. 15, 2016
- Letter to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology supporting HR 4932 (Robocop Act), Sept. 22, 2016
- 6/26/17 The Hill op-ed "Consumers Need Strong Protections from Robocalls" by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
- 6/13/17 Boston Globe Editorial “FCC should reject new robocall initiative” quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders on robocalls and the First Amendment.
- 6/6/17 Morning Consult op-ed “Agencies should ensure enforcement of unwanted robocalls, texts” by NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders and Randall A. Snyder argues for greater consumer protections against telemarketers.
- 6/3/17 New York Times “Telemarketers fight to get in with no ring” by Tara Siegel Bernard quotes NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders on the dangers of ringless voicemail. This story also ran in the Boston Globe and the Tampa Bay Times.
- 6/1/17 CBS Evening News (National) 2:01 runtime "Companies want robocalls to go straight to your voicemail" in which Anna Werner interviews NCLC Senior Counsel Margot Saunders.
- 2/8/17 KOMO Radio (Seattle) (3:20 runtime) NCLC attorney Margot Saunders discusses concerns that the FCC might loosen regulations that would allow robocalls by student loan servicers and debt collectors to cellphones without consent with consumer reporter Herb Weisbaum.