About the FTC

Since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was created in 1914, it has worked to make a difference for consumers. The agency challenges unscrupulous business practices and anticompetitive mergers, shuts down shady operations and deceptive marketing campaigns, and protects consumers’ privacy and their pocketbooks. Pursuant to this mission, the FTC enforces the Telemarketing Sales Rule, which was amended in 2008 to prohibit the delivery of most pre-recorded sales messages to consumers without their express written permission. See 16 CFR 310.4(b)(1)(v). The commission continues to crack down on illegal robocalls by bringing law enforcement actions against, for example, deceptive telemarketing pitches for extended auto warranties and lower credit card interest rates. To find out more about the commission visit FTC.gov.

What are Robocalls?

The vast majority of telephone calls that deliver a prerecorded message trying to sell something to the recipient are illegal. As technology has advanced over the years, so have the number of illegal robocalls. To learn more about Robocalls check out the Robocalls infographic and visit FTC.gov/robocalls.

Robocall Summit

On October 18th, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a one-day public event to promote the development of solutions to the rapid rise in illegal robocalls.

The Summit included a report on the current state of robocall technology and the industry, along with a discussion of the laws surrounding the use of robocalls. This was followed by an exploration of potential technological solutions to the problem of illegal robocalls, including panels on caller-ID spoofing and call authentication technology, data mining and anomaly detection, and call-blocking technology.

Click here to access the presentation slides from the Robocall Summit.

Visit ftc.gov/videos and click the "FTC Events" tab to access the recorded webcast from the Robocall Summit.

Accessing the Robocall Complaint Data

In connection with the Robocall Challenge, the FTC is making consumer complaint data about robocalls available to solvers. Solvers will receive one set of data containing de-identified complaints made between June 2008 and September 2012. Solvers will then receive periodic updates with contemporary data covering the time period from their data request until December 31, 2012. For each consumer complaint about a pre-recorded call, the data consists of the following fields:

  • Date of call
  • Approximate time of call
  • Reported caller name
  • First 7 digits of the reported caller phone number
  • Consumer area code

To get access to the Robocall Complaint Data please fill out the data request form below. Use of this data is not required and preference will not be given to contestants who choose to use it. Once you submit your request form Robocall Complaint Data will be sent to you within 2 business days.

The Robocall Complaint Data reflect consumer complaints that have not been verified by the Federal Trade Commission. Because robocallers often transmit fake caller ID information – known as “caller ID spoofing” – the reported caller phone number and reported caller name categories may contain false information.

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More Questions?

If you have questions about the FTC Robocall Challenge, email Support@ChallengePost.com