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Why the “Do Not Call” registry may be where robocallers get your number

Growing up we often got calls from telemarketers. Sometimes I played jokes on them out of spite. I remember vividly sometimes my grandmother would take her phone off the hook to keep telemarketers from calling during the middle of supper (that is what we call dinner in the country.)

And then Congress established the “Do Not Call” list, which sounded like a great idea. A list you signed up for to keep telemarketers from calling you. The calls started slowing down and granny didn’t have to take the phone off the hook anymore.

But who uses landlines anymore? We all have cell phones. We can communicate with virtually anyone in the world. The downside is now a number of robocallers are using the “Do Not Call” registry to actually get your number. Our local CBS affiliate recently reported:

How bad is the problem? A firm called YouMail Inc. tries to count the number of robocalls that pester Americans, and the statistics are staggering. YouMail claims that 2.5 billion unwanted calls were placed just in April 2017, equaling 7.7 calls per person.

For fun, YouMail breaks down its data by ZIP code, and found that Atlanta wins for most robocalls received, with about 50 million placed just to the 404 area code in April. Another 35 million arrived at Atlanta’s 678 area code. Houston and Dallas area codes came in second and third. New York City’s 917 area code was fifth, with 29 million.

There is some good news. Legitimate business cannot call your cellphone by using an autodialer or robodialer without your permission. Even if you give them permission, you can revoke permission at any time in the future. If the company keeps calling you may have a claim pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and can recover between $500.00 and $1,500.00 for each call. If the company is a debt collector you may also be entitled to damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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