How to stop unwanted phone calls even if you’re already on the Do Not Call List

HARRISBURG, Pa - Answering a phone call from a telemarketer or scammer probably won't put you in a good mood.

The do not call list was created 13 years ago to help prevent that.

Back then, millions of people registered but that was before cellphones.

Basil Merenda is a Chief Deputy with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

He says there are 3.4 people million on the Pennsylvania do not call list and believes there would probably be even more if people remember to register not only landlines, but cellphones too.

"It's now incumbent upon the consumer to take these extra effort to put their cellphone number on the do not call list," said Merenda.

Even if you're on the list, you can still get calls you may not want.

Merenda said,"charitable solicitations for charitable organizations. political calls, get out the vote type of calls you receive around election time."

This might be important to remember since we're in an election year.

If you're getting these types of calls, don't even bother filing a complaint.

However, if you're getting a call from someone you think is a scammer, file a complaint with the attorney general's office or federal trade commission.

"More likely than not, these calls originate outside the united states believe it or not and these folks have spoofed numbers off of the internet," said Merenda.

Merenda says those callers usually try to take your money by pretending a family member is ill or injured.

Unfortunately, the attorney general's office can't sue whoever the caller is - since they're usually out of the country.

"Although we might not be able to bring a consumer protection type of lawsuit, we can at least have it on record, compile this information so we can go back down the line if these scammers trip up and make a mistake."

The AG's office can file a lawsuit against people and companies in the united states that violate the do not call list.

In 2015, Pennsylvania started a specific legal team for do not call list complaints and so far, have it's had some success.

"There were 3 lawsuits and 1 settlement," said Merenda.

Merenda believes there can be some improvements to the do no call list.

He says there's a state registry and there is also a national one.

The two really don't correspond with each other when it comes to reporting violations.

Merenda hopes that changes in the future.

"Right now, we do not have the authority to release the pa do not call list to the federal do not call list. so that means a consumer has to file both with us and the feds."

The Attorney General's office says there is a benefit to reporting a do not call list violation.

If it results in a lawsuit or settlement, you can get 10% of the winnings up to $100.

You can register for both Do Not Call List, or find out if you're already on those lists, by clicking here.