Annoying calls prompt questions about effectiveness of Do Not Call registry


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Annoying calls prompt questions about effectiveness of Do Not Call registry

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED May 19, 2014

Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- More people from across the valley are turning to Action News in hopes of some peace and quiet following a series of annoying phone calls.

After our first story, we heard from several others who are tired of the endless calls; some are questioning the effectiveness of the Do Not Call registry.

When it comes to the calls, Brenda Grasso of Henderson has had enough.

"The phone will ring. I'll pick it up and there's no one there," Grasso said.

Grasso said the random calls to her cell phone started several weeks ago.

"It's sporadic," Grasso said. "Sometimes I can get two or three in a day. Sometimes, once or twice a week."

Sound familiar? Just last week, Rosemarie Schaich of Las Vegas told Action News, "We're sleeping. The phone rings. I jump out of bed. There's nobody there."

Rosemarie's battle involves random 1-800 numbers. Brenda said she has a similar problem but not with 1-800 numbers; her calls come from all different area codes.

"I can't distinguish which ones to pick up and which ones not," Grasso said.

Fearing the "one ring scam," Brenda does not call back. It's unclear exactly where the calls are coming from. Both women said their cell phones are listed on the Do Not Call registry.

"I don't think it works, obviously because you're still getting annoyance and the likes," Grasso said.

The Federal Trade Commission disagrees.

"The Do Not Call registry is absolutely effective," said Bikram Bandy, Do Not Call program coordinator at the FTC in Washington, D.C.

The agency noted that some calls are still permitted under the registry including those from charities, surveys, political groups and companies you've done business with. Bandy said the agency does not investigate every single complaint, instead looking for patterns of violations.

"There are lots of companies that download the registry every day. We see that and they take steps to comply with the Do Not Call laws," Bandy said.

The registry has led to 80 resolved enforcement cases, the FTC said on its website.

Action News tried calling some of the numbers provided by Brenda and Rosemarie. Most led to busy signals or operator error messages. A few of the numbers on Rosemarie's phone traced back to real businesses but it's unclear if the business made the call or if someone else spoofed the number, a technique used to mask the true origin.

Nevada has its own Do Not Call laws. The state attorney general's office said the state leaves most enforcement action to the FTC because many of the chronic offenders are part of a national problem.

The FTC recommends you don't answer the calls and don't call back if they don't leave a message.