The FTC Is Paying $50,000 To Anyone Who Can Rid Us Of Those Pesky Robocalls

Bye-bye, bots.

An unknown number flashes across the screen of your phone's caller ID. It's not an 800 number. In fact, it has a seemingly real area code, from "Bayonne, New Jersey." Though you don't know anyone from Bayonne, New Jersey, you decide to pick up.


Annoying, right? The Federal Trade Commission think so, too, and now it's offering $50,000 to the winner of its new Robocall Challenge, which is soliciting technical solutions to block robocalls on both landlines and smartphones. To help out participants, the FTC said it will provide information from consumer complaints about robocalls from the past four years that detail factors such as the caller's date and time, the reported caller's name, and the first seven digits of the caller's phone number.

Though most robocalls have been illegal since 2009, an FTC report released this week revealed that in 2012, more people than ever had phone numbers listed in the National Do Not Call Registry, at 217 million. Yet the number of them who registered robocall-related complaints also set a new record, with 3.8 million in the past year.

"We think this will be an effective approach in the case of robocalls because the winner of our challenge will become a national hero," said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

[Image: Flickr user mollybob]

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  • Mom2gr8boy

    Make it an offense with a hefty fine to be split between the FCC and the call recipient advertise for recipients of these calls to report them with the pertinent info and since big brother is monitoring all communications the rest of the information needed to track down the responsible parties should be easy to get hold the jokers responsible and fine them out the ear - this would also be an economic stimulus by giving part of the fines to the people receiving these annoying calls but only those following the reporting protocol would be able to claim their share of these funds

  • CPO_C_Ryback


    Notice the FTC says nothing about political robo-calls. Right now, Ohioans are getting 1/minute.

    This is just B.S. from the OweBama crowd, with the tacit approval of the Mitt crowd.

    Sick, ridiculous, and dopey.

    Want to stop robo-calls? Google Voice. Also Caller ID. Duh.

  • tony baldwin

    I've been on the no-call list since they implemented it, and I still get these calls all the time. Even worse, I get unsolicited commercial SMS advertising text messages, and those really piss me off (more so before I got unlimited texting and had to pay 10¢ for every text, incoming or outgoing. I had to pay 10¢ to receive ads. Was not happy...)

  • Glenn59

    This is too easy, simply make a Robot box that identifies a caller who is making a huge amount of calls and hang up on them before they bother you.In addition I would  make the machine have an on and off switch.

  • Tom

    CallWall from Nullriver has been pretty good at stopping these calls at my workplace.