FTC Releases Biennial Report to Congress on National Do Not Call Registry
The Federal Trade Commission released its biennial report to Congress on the National Do Not Call Register (DNC). The new report details the number of consumers – who now total more than 244 million – who have entered their phone number on the registry in the past two years. It also says the FTC received more than five million Do Not Call complaints in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, with people reporting these violations overwhelmingly through robocalls, as opposed to live telemarketing.
Impostor and collateral protection scam calls led to the list of frequently reported call topics in fiscal 2021, followed by calls related to debt and need reduction medical and prescriptions. Since the start of the pandemic, the FTC has received more than 18,000 do not call complaints related to COVID, according to the report. In response to the continued high number of public complaints about identity theft scams, the FTC recently launched a regulatory initiative to tackle corporate and government identity theft fraud.
The report notes that the DNC registry exists to offer consumers the choice of whether or not to receive telemarketing calls. Therefore, it is important that the FTC continues to work alongside the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the registry is effective and accessible to both consumers and telemarketers. As new technologies present new challenges, both agencies actively seek to meet and address them, among other things, by encouraging the private sector, other government agencies, academia and other interested parties to create and develop new strategies to help consumers avoid unwanted telemarketing calls.
The report also includes the number of entities paying a fee to access the Registry and the amount of the fee; the impact on the Registry of the five-year re-registration requirement (which was subsequently revoked), new telecommunications technology, number portability and abandoned telephone numbers; and the impact of the established business relationship exception on businesses and consumers. The final section includes updates on recent DNC-related enforcement actions, including recent cases against VoIP service providers, Globex Telecom, Inc. and Alcazar Networks, Inc.
Biennial report data
The DNC registry currently has 244.3 million active registrations, an increase of over 2.8 million from the previous year. According to the report, in fiscal year 2021, 2,000 companies and other entities paid nearly $ 13 million to access the registry. Over 12,000 entities have registered to access the registry, including 9,595 that have registered for free for five or fewer area codes, and 512 entities (such as charities) have claimed “exempt organization” status and have received free access to the registry.
In fiscal 2020, 1,952 entities paid Registry access fees totaling nearly $ 12.5 million. In that year, 10,420 entities registered with the registry, including those that registered for free access to five or fewer area codes, and 556 entities claimed “exempt organization” status and accessed the registry without pay a fee.
The Commission also publishes an annual do-not-call register data book which provides substantive details of registration numbers and other statistical information on the register. Similar information is also available on the FTC’s public Table page, which is updated regularly and allows users to interact with the data to explore state or county data.
The Committee’s vote approving the report and its submission to Congress was 4-0.