Federal laws and FCC regulations protect American consumers from unsolicited messages by placing limits on how, when, where, and why a caller may use particular kinds of telephone technologies. Additionally, FCC rules obligate telecommunications providers to take steps to combat unlawful robocalling and help consumers avoid unwanted messages.
- Robocalls, Telemarketing Calls, and Junk Faxes. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts unsolicited advertisements both by phone call and by fax, and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (autodialers) and prerecorded/artificial voice messages (i.e., robocalls). Restrictions are generally tightest when such calls (including text messages) are made to cell phones or other protected destinations like emergency lines, hospital rooms, or care facilities.
- Calls to Cell Phones and Other Protected Destinations. The TCPA generally prohibits all non-emergency autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones unless the called party has given prior express consent. Consent must be in writing if a prerecorded or autodialed call contains an advertisement. If the cell phone number is on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, all advertising calls – including manually-dialed and live ones – are prohibited unless the called party has an established business relationship with the caller or the called party has given prior express written consent.
- Calls to Residential Landlines. The TCPA generally prohibits prerecorded advertising calls to residential landline numbers unless the called party has given prior express written consent. If the residential landline number is on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, all advertising calls – including live ones – are prohibited unless the called party has an established business relationship with the caller or the called party has given prior express written consent. The TCPA does not restrict non-advertising prerecorded or autodialed calls to landlines.
- Calls to Private Entities. Private entities may submit information about robocalling and spoofing incidents to the Enforcement Bureau by using the Private Entity Robocall and Spoofing Complaint Portal. A private entity is any entity other than (1) an individual natural person or (2) a public entity.
- Malicious Caller ID Spoofing. Under the Truth in Caller ID Act (TICIDA), Section 227(e) prohibits someone from causing the display of false or misleading caller ID (spoofing) with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain something of value.
- Robotexts. Text messages are generally treated as a type of telephone call subject to the requirements of the TCPA, including do-not-call provisions that govern commercial advertising messages and restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems. In addition, text messages are subject to the TICIDA, which prohibits Caller ID spoofing that is undertaken for fraudulent or harmful purposes. In September 2022, the Commission initiated a proceeding to consider new rules to protect consumers from malicious and other unwanted robotexts.
- Robocall Mitigation Database Enforcement. The FCC requires voice service providers to file certifications in the Robocall Mitigation Database regarding their efforts to fight illegal robocalls on their networks.
- Reassigned Numbers Database Enforcement. Providers that receive numbering resources from the North American Numbering Plan must report disconnection information on a monthly basis to the Reassigned Numbers Database (RND). The RND helps consumers avoid getting unwanted calls by persons/entities trying to reach the previous owner/user of a telephone number.
- Consumer Tips to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams.
- Call blocking tools and resources.
Best Practice for Filing a Consumer Complaint About Unwanted Communications
If you have received an unsolicited robocall, robotext, or fax message, you can file a complaint with the FCC online: File A Complaint.
The Enforcement Bureau relies on information and complaints from consumers to help us identify illegal robocall and robotext campaigns that bombard Americans with unwanted messages every year. There is key information that you can include in a consumer complaint that will greatly assist the Enforcement Bureau’s efforts to track down the perpetrators of these illegal activities. Specifically, please include the number that the robocallers dialed (i.e., the telephone number where you received the call); caller id information (the name and number that appeared on the caller ID); the time and date of the robocall (including time zone if possible); your contact information, in case our investigators would like to speak with you more about the calls you received; and whether the phone you received the call on was a landline phone or a wireless phone.
FAQ on Robocalls and What the EB Does to Prevent Them
A “What is a Robocall” or “Robocalls 101” section with charts or animations. People never get to see how complex the telephone system is. A robocall does not go from the dialer’s computer straight to consumer’s phone. Consumers should understand that this is a complex problem.
FCC Robocall and Robotext Enforcement Actions Since 8/1/2016
|Target||FCC Action1||Subject||Date||Forfeiture Amount|
|Akabis, LLC||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Cloud4 Inc||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Global UC Inc||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Horizon Technology Group LLC||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Morse Communications Inc||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Sharon Telephone Company||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|Southwest Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology, Inc||Order||robocall mitigation database||10/3/2022||N/A|
|FCC Enforcement Bureau Warns All U.S.-Based Voice Service Providers To Avoid Or Cease Carriage Of Auto Warranty Robocall Traffic From Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama Operation||Order||avoiding illegal robocall traffic||7/21/2022||N/A|
|Thomas Dorsher, ChariTel Inc, OnTel Inc, ScammerBlaster Inc||NAL||TCPA/Robocalls||7/21/2022||$116,156,250|
|Call Pipe LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Fugle Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Geist Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Global Lynks LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Mobi Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|South Dakota Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|SipKonnect LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Virtual Telecom Inc.||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Roy Cox, Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, their individual associates, and associated entities Sumco Panama S.A., Sumco Panama Inc., Tech Direct LLC, Posting Express Inc., 7 Sundays Inc.and Texas Outdoor Adventures Inc.||Public Notice||making illegal robocalls||7/7/2022||N/A|
|Airespring, Inc.||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/22/2022||N/A|
|Hello Hello Miami, LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/22/2022||N/A|
|thinQ Technologies, Inc.||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/22/2022||N/A|
|Gregory Robbins, Interstate Brokers of America LLC, National Health Agents LLC||NAL||TCPA/robocalls/Do-Not-Call||2/22/2022||$45,000,000|
|Great Choice Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||2/10/2022||N/A|
|Telecom Carrier Access, Inc. dba TCA Voip||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||2/10/2022||N/A|
|Duratel LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||10/21/2021||N/A|
|Primo Dialler LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||10/21/2021||N/A|
|PZ/Illum Telecommunication LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||10/21/2021||N/A|
|John M. Burkman, Jacob Alexander Wohl, J.M. Burkman & Associates LLC||NAL||TCPA/robocalls||8/23/2021||$5,134,500|
|Prestige DR VoIP||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||5/18/2021||N/A|
|VaultTel Solutions||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||5/18/2021||N/A|
|R Squared Telecom LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||4/13/2021||N/A|
|Tellza||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||4/13/2021||N/A|
|John C. Spiller; Jakob A. Mears; Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC; JSquared Telecom LLC; Only Web Leads LLC; Rising Phoenix Group; Rising Phoenix Holdings; RPG Leads; and Rising Eagle Capital Group – Cayman||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||3/18/2021||$225,000,000|
|Icon Global Services||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|IDT Corporation||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|RSCom||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|Stratics Networks||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|Third Rock Telecom||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|Yodel Technologies, LLC||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting illegal robocall traffic||3/17/2021||N/A|
|Scott Rhodes a.k.a. Scott David Rhodes, Scott D. Rhodes, Scott Platek, Scott P. Platek||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||1/14/2021||$9,918,000|
|Kenneth Moser dba Marketing Support Systems||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||11/19/2020||$9,997,750|
|Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls||12/13/2019||N/A|
|Affordable Enterprises of Arizona, LLC||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||10/28/2020||$37,525,000|
|Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls||9/26/2018||N/A|
|Intelepeer||Cease-and-Desist Letter2||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||5/20/2020||N/A|
|PTGi Carrier Services||Cease-and-Desist Letter2||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||5/20/2020||N/A|
|RSCom||Cease-and-Desist Letter2||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||5/20/2020||N/A|
|Connexum||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||4/3/2020||N/A|
|SIPJoin||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||4/3/2020||N/A|
|VoIP Terminator||Cease-and-Desist Letter||transmitting COVID-19 scam robocall traffic||4/3/2020||N/A|
|Dante Sciarra, D&D Global Enterprises, LLC||Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls/Do-Not-Call||11/27/2019||N/A|
|Emanuel “Manny” Hernandez; Click Cash Marketing, LLC; Rock Solid Traffic||Citation and Order||TCPA/Do-Not-Call (text messages)||12/21/2018||N/A|
|Best Insurance Contracts, Inc. and Philip Roesel dba Wilmington Insurance Quotes||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||9/26/2018||$82,106,000|
|Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls/Do-Not-Call||8/4/2017||N/A|
|Dialing Services, LLC||Forfeiture Order||TCPA/robocalls||7/26/2018||$2,880,000|
|Adrian Abramovich/ Marketing Strategy Leaders||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||5/10/2018||$120,000,000|
|Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls||6/22/2017||N/A|
|Steven Blumenstock||Forfeiture Order||TICIDA/spoofing||1/13/2017||$25,000|
|Yakim Jordan a/k/a Manasseh Jordan, Prophet Manasseh Jordan, Prophet M Jordan, Yakim Manasseh Robert Jordan, Yakim Manasseh Jordan, Wakim Jordan, Manasseh Jordan Ministries||Citation and Order||TCPA/robocalls||9/13/2016||N/A|
1 For an explanation of EB’s enforcement actions, see EB’s Enforcement Overview
2 Issued jointly with FTC.