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The Do Not Call Registry doesn’t stop robo-scammers

Whatever happened to the Do Not Call list? I have been on this list for many years, but I still get nine or 10 calls a day from telemarketers. I have to turn my phone off in order to avoid these calls and then delete them later. If I do answer the phone, it's usually about Medicare supplemental policies or lowering my credit card interest rates. It seems that insurance companies and others aren't bound by the old Do Not Call rules. Why not? Why do we have to tolerate this?

— Name withheld by request

The Do Not Call Registry still exists, but it is meant to prevent telemarketers from real companies from contacting you, not robocall scammers who do not care about the laws.

Robocalls are recorded messages, and while not all robocalls are illegal, for example, school systems use them to contact parents and students about snow days and late starts, all robocalls trying to sell someone something without first acquiring the customer's consent are illegal.

The combination of robocalls being so profitable for the people behind them, relatively easy to set up, and it being difficult for authorities to catch the perpetrators has fostered the current environment where more than four billion robocalls were made last month alone.

What is most likely happening in your situation is that you are not being contacted by legitimate insurance and credit card companies, but rather by scammers trying to swindle you out of your money.

The problem is there is no catch-all solution to robocalls. Adding your name to the Do Not Call Registry prevents telemarketers from calling you, but not illegal robocallers. You can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, but it is difficult for them to pinpoint the people behind the calls.

There are apps that can be downloaded, but they can sometimes block calls from legitimate organizations.

If you receive an illegal robocall, the FTC recommends that you hang up and don’t press any numbers, as it could lead to more robocalls.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com.