Despite the U.S. government's Do Not Call (www.donotcall.gov ) list—and stiff fines of up to $16,000 dollars per call—unwanted automated phone calls from telemarketers and scammers continue to ring off the hook.
The Do Not Call list, a registry of people who don't want to receive telemarketing calls that began in 2003, now has more than 220 million numbers registered. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission fields thousands of complaints each month, more than any other issue. Many of the scammers originate overseas and spoof or fake the number on caller ID, making it harder for law enforcement to catch the criminals.
Last year, the FCC ruled telecom companies are legally allowed to provide services for customers to block calls. That has been a boon to people like Aaron Foss, the founder of Nomorobo, a call blocking service for VOIP lines. He estimates that 35 percent of all telephone calls placed in the U.S. are actually robocalls.
Some say the egregious number of violations has given robocalls, and the people who make them, a bad rap.
Brad Herrmann, the CEO of Dallas based Call-Em-All says not all automated phone calls are unwanted or scams. His company works with schools, employers, charities, and churches. Some of his clients include Amazon, Six Flags, Texas Tech University, and the Red Cross.
Herrmann told CNBC's On the Money in an interview that "maybe an employer is trying to fill a last minute overtime shift on the weekend and needs to reach out to their employees."
He added that "a lot of people frankly aren't checking their email every few minutes…and they need to get critical information."
While it is legal for companies to make telemarketing robocalls to landlines with a customer's prior consent, Herrmann said Call-Em-All only makes informational calls.