Fighting back against illegal robocalls


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — They just keep coming: unwanted sales calls on our cellphones, and they're not even from actual humans.

They are robocalls, recorded sales messages shotgunned at us from computers every day.

On a Grand Rapids street, passerby Juan Ayala said he gets three a day.

"That stuff's annoying," he said.

"I cannot tell you how sick I am of them," another passerby, Linda DuCheny, agreed. "I get them every day."

A Federal Trade Commission official is quoted as saying Americans get 98 million robocalls a day. 4.5 million of us complained to the FTC last year.

Most of the robocalls are flat-out illegal. In 2009, the FTC banned robocalls unless you give the caller written permission, so you can get important messages from your bank or dentist. But most robocalls are unwanted.

"If they're trying to sell you something, it's fraudulent," said FTC lawyer Jon Kessler, who was in Grand Rapids recently.

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