Unwanted calls, including robocalls and texts, are consistently among the top consumer complaints filed with the FCC each year. The FCC is committed to protecting consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls and text messages, and works closely with industry representatives to give consumers more control over the calls and texts they receive.

The Commission has tackled robocalls on as many fronts as possible, implementing new rules, ruling on questions raised about the law, taking enforcement action, keeping consumers informed, and encouraging new pro-consumer innovation by the private sector.

Click the tabs below for more information on FCC rules and consumer rights, call-blocking resources and additional FAQs.

You can also file a complaint with the FCC if you believe you have received an illegal call or text.

Robocalls

Steps for Preventing Robocalls
FCC-FTC Events
 
March 23, 2018

Joint Policy Forum

April 23, 2018

Stop Illegal Robocalls Expo 10am - 12pm EDT

Robocalls are unsolicited prerecorded telemarketing calls to landline home telephones, and all autodialed or prerecorded calls or text messages to wireless numbers, emergency numbers, and patient rooms at health care facilities.

Latest FCC Action

The FCC recently adopted new rules to allow voice service providers to proactively block certain types of robocalls that are likely to be fraudulent because they come from certain types of phone numbers, including those that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. For example, perpetrators have used IRS phone numbers that don't dial out to impersonate the tax agency, informing the people who answer that they are calling to collect money owed to the U.S. government. Such calls appear to be legitimate to those who receive them and can result in fraud or identity theft. Service providers now can block such calls, as well as calls from invalid numbers, like those with area codes that don't exist, from numbers that have not been assigned to a provider, and from numbers allocated to a provider but not currently in use.

  • Know your rights: the rules on robocalls and robotexts  expand and contract
  • Take action: what you can do  expand and contract

FAQs

  • What are the rules for robocalls?  expand and contract
  • What are the consent requirements for telemarketers calling my landline?  expand and contract
  • Are robocalls to wireless phones permissible?  expand and contract
  • Do all prerecorded autodialed calls to my landline violate FCC rules?  expand and contract
  • What other autodialed calls are permitted under FCC robocall rules?  expand and contract
  • Can I opt out of autodialed calls?  expand and contract
  • How can schools get more information about compliance?  expand and contract

Call Blocking Resources

Web Resources for Blocking Robocalls

These resources are provided to arm consumers of wireless, traditional landline, and VoIP voice services with information they can use to block or filter unwanted calls and stop annoying robocalls.

The descriptions and links are for informational purposes only. The FCC does not endorse any non-FCC product or service, and is not responsible for the content of non-FCC websites, including their accuracy, completeness or timeliness.

Spoofing

Spoofing and Caller ID

"Spoofing" occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing.

Caller ID lets consumers avoid unwanted phone calls by displaying caller names and phone numbers, but the caller ID feature is sometimes manipulated by spoofers who masquerade as representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies, or even the government.

  • What you can do if you think you're being spoofed  expand and contract
  • Is spoofing illegal?  expand and contract
  • Is blocking a phone number the same thing as spoofing?  expand and contract
  • What are the FCC rules regarding caller ID for telemarketers?  expand and contract
  • How do I report suspected spoofing?  expand and contract

'Do Not Call' List

The National Do Not Call List

Under FCC rules, anyone making a telephone solicitation call to your home must provide his or her name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and the telephone number and address where that person or entity can be contacted. Telephone solicitation calls to your home are prohibited before 8 am or after 9 pm, and telemarketers are required to comply immediately with any do-not-call request you make during a call.

The national Do Not Call list protects home voice or personal wireless phone numbers. You can register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list by phone or on the Internet at no cost.

  • To register via the Internet, go to www.donotcall.gov .
  • To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register.

Callers are prohibited from making telephone solicitations to any numbers on the Do Not Call list. Your numbers will remain on the list until you remove them or discontinue service – there is no need to re-register numbers. Telemarketers must remove your numbers from their call lists and stop calling you within 31 days from the date you register.


FAQs

What is a telephone solicitation?

A telephone solicitation is a telephone call that acts as an advertisement. However, some phone solicitations are permissible under FCC rules, including: calls or messages placed with your express prior permission, by or on behalf of a tax-exempt non-profit organization, or from a person or organization. However, having an established business relationship no longer meets the rules for permissible unsolicited calls to your landline phone. Companies and telemarketers must have your express permission to call.

Are there any other lists I can register my number with?

Yes. Additionally, many states now have statewide do-not-call lists for residents. Contact your state's public service commission or consumer protection office to see if your state has such a list, and to find out how to register your number or numbers. For contact information for your state public service commission, check the government listings or blue pages of your local phone directory.

If I continue to receive such calls, what can I do?

If you receive a telephone solicitation that you think violates any of the FCC rules, you can file a complaint with the FCC. The FCC can issue warning citations and impose fines against companies violating or suspected of violating the do-not-call rules, but does not award individual damages.

Texts

Texts

FCC rules ban text messages sent to a mobile phone using an autodialer unless you previously gave consent to receive the message or the message is sent for emergency purposes.

  • For commercial texts, your consent must be in writing.
  • For non-commercial, informational texts (such as those sent by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, those for political purposes, and other noncommercial purposes, such as school closings), your consent may be oral.

The ban applies even if you have not placed your mobile phone number on the national Do-Not-Call list.

Tips for avoiding unwanted texts

  • Do not respond to unwanted texts from questionable sources. Several mobile service providers allow you to block the sender by forwarding unwanted texts to 7726 (or "SPAM"). Check with your provider about options.
  • Be careful about giving out your mobile phone number or any other personal information.
  • Read through commercial web forms and check for a privacy policy when submitting your mobile phone number to any customer website. You should be able to opt out of receiving texts – but you may have to check or uncheck a preselected box to do so.
  • Find out if any company you do business with has a policy that allows it to sell or share your information.

Take action

File a complaint with the FCC if you receive:

  • An unwanted commercial text message sent to your mobile phone.
  • An autodialed text message sent to your mobile phone if you didn't consent to the message previously (or it doesn't involve an emergency).
  • Any autodialed text message from a telecommunications company or advertising a telecommunications company's products or services, if sent without your prior consent.

File a Complaint

File a Complaint

You have multiple options for filing complaint with the FCC:

  • File your complaint online
  • By phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL Videophone: 1-844-432-2275
  • By mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

Downloads

Download Consumer Education Materials

Download printable files that can be posted or shared at events or by email to spread the word about what you can do to help stop unwanted calls. All files are in PDF format.

 

Button image for spoofing poster

 

Don't Get Spoofed Poster

 

Consumer Guide
Provides information about the issue, what the FCC is doing about it and what you can do. Two-page format is suitable for front-and-back printing.

 

Button image for downloadable fact sheet Fact Sheet
Offers similar information as the Consumer Guide in an abbreviated, one-page format that's easier to digest at a glance.


 

Button image for downloadable tip card Tip Card
A perfect takeaway for events. Tip cards can either be printed on office or home copiers and folded for distribution, or professionally printed on heavier stock paper.

 

 

File a Complaint with the FCC

Visit our Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov to file a complaint or tell us your story.

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Consumer Help Center

Learn about consumer issues - visit the FCC's Consumer Help Center at www.fcc.gov/consumers.

 

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Monday, April 23, 2018