FOX43 Finds Out: how to stop unwanted calls

MOUNT WOLF, Pa -- Jeffery Miller of Mount Wolf, York County gets a lot of messages claiming he`s broken quite a few laws and none of them are real.

"When my cell phone rings, I normally would check to see if it's important and I'm even letting that go to voicemail now," says Miller.

Miller says he gets about 100 unwanted and illegal phone calls a month.

He doesn`t understand why or how though, considering he`s on both the Pennsylvania and National do not call registry.

The York County man wants to know if the people who make these calls even get punished.

"Hit them in the pocket book, you think then maybe they'll think before they try to exploit our pocketbook."

FOX43 Finds Out traveled to our nation`s capitol to get answers.

That`s because the Federal Trade Commission is the agency that is behind the do not call list and agency that goes after the phone scammers.

"We have seen a steady increase in the number of consumer complaints about do not call list violations," said Janice Kopec, an attorney with the Federal Trade  Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Kopec says the agency isn`t just sitting back and watching the complaints come in.

"The FTC has brought over 131 actions targeting unlawful calls and these actions went after almost 800 individuals and corporations who are behind some of these unlawful calls."

Back in June, the FTC charged a group in California for blasting consumers with billions of illegal telemarketing robocalls. That group has to pay a $2.7 million dollar fine.

Even Kopec says that`s not enough.

"Law enforcement alone isn't enough to solve this problem because of the advances in technology."

That`s why in 2015, the FTC held the Humanity Strikes Back challenge , a contest for consumers to create a way to block robocalls from getting to your phone in the first place.

There are several apps now that do that and Kopec says the FTC is now working with phone carriers to see if they can come up with similar technology too.

"Creating a system where they check and validate the caller id information of where the call is coming from."

Kopec admits though, even with call blocking technology, it`s likely these robocalls will never completely go away.

She has advice for consumers and it`s simple.

The less people who pick up these calls - the less money the scammers will make - and the less phone calls we`ll get, hopefully.

"If you pick up, hang up. Don't talk to them. Don't say yes. Don't press 1. Don't give your name. Don't argue with them. All of those things could result in you getting more unwanted calls," said Kopec.

Back in York County, Miller says he's willing to try anything to stop getting so many illegal calls.

"If there would be an app or something that would make life a little easier, that would be fantastic."

Here's how you can file a do not call list complaint with the FTC.

Here's what the FTC suggests you can do to block unwanted calls for now.

It's also kind of a group effort to stop these calls, since the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission and PA Attorney General's office  all have a way for you to complain about these calls.

Here's what the FCC says you should do and here's how you can complain to the PA Attorney General.

FOX43 Finds Out has also looked into Pennsylvania Do Not Call list violations and call blocking apps in the past, you can find those stores on FOX43.com under "FOX43 Finds Out."