Ask The DA: Telemarketing robocalls

July 9, 2013 Charles J. Hynes
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Automated robocalls launched by telemarketers have resurfaced as a concern, and have been happening even though your telephone number was added to the Federal “Do Not Call” registry (

Generally, such calls have been banned since 2009 with limited exceptions such as those for informational purposes like prescription drug refills, medical appointments, school closings and flight cancellations, for example.

Robocalls have become a growing area of fraud as thieves are making these calls in an attempt to gain personal information from honest, law-abiding citizens in order to commit identity theft with potentially devastating financial consequences.

These offenders are often overseas, or domestic but constantly moving, so it is difficult to apprehend these con artists.  The following are some helpful hints to protect yourself should you be barraged by such calls.

First, unless you know the source, such as your pharmacy calling about a prescription refill, hang up immediately.  Refrain from pressing any key on your telephone keypad as such an action signals that the number is “live,” which will all but guarantee additional calls from other marketers.

Copy the telephone number as seen on your Caller ID, and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at or 888-382-1222, which will help the FTC and state attorneys general track down the offenders.

To have your questions answered in future columns, send your inquiries to [email protected].  You can also contact my Citizen’s Action Center at 718-250-2340, as well as my neighborhood offices located throughout the county who can provide assistance and appropriate referrals if you suspect fraud.  The hotline for my neighborhood offices is 718-250-2555 for a location nearest you.


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