The FTC released its Do Not Call Registry Data Book ("Data Book") on November 23, 2021, providing a look into statistical data about phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry ("Registry"), telemarketers and sellers accessing phone numbers on the Registry, and consumer complaints.
As a bit of background, the Registry was created in 2003 with the goal of stopping unwanted sales calls. Consumers can register their home or cell phone number and have it added to the Registry the next day, and telemarketers and sellers must remove the number from their call lists within 31 days. This year's Data Book shows that consumers are increasingly eager to add their numbers to the Registry as robocalls and live telemarketers continue to inundate consumers with unwanted calls. Both the number of people registered and the number of complaints filed rose from 2020. The Registry now contains 244.3 million actively registered phone numbers, up from 241.5 million at the end of 2020. The number of consumer complaints also increased from nearly four million in 2020 to over five million this year.
Topping the list of complaints this year were reports of imposter calls, with almost 594,000 received during Fiscal Year 2021. These calls included imposters posing as government representatives, such as the Social Security Administration or IRS, businesses, or people affiliated with these groups.
Despite the growing number of people on the Registry and the increase in reports and complaints, consumers will likely continue to receive unwanted calls. As the FTC continues to take a more proactive regulatory role under the new administration, companies subject to the Telemarketing Sales Rule ("Rule") should carefully review their obligations under the Rule, and take extra care in their telemarketing efforts.
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