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FTC Offers $50,000 Prize To Anyone Who Can End Robocalls

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Lauren Leamanczyk Lauren Leamanczyk
Lauren Leamanczyk is an I-Team Correspondent for WBZ-TV News and is...
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FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – Robocalls are on the rise and now the Federal Trade Commission is offering $50,000 to whomever can solve the problem.

For consumers like Cheryl Deckert of Framingham, a solution can’t come soon enough. She gets robocalls every day, but there’s one that drives her especially crazy.

When the phone rings, she picks up and hears, “Hello this is Rachel from cardholder services calling.”

“I’m already on the do not call list, the national one, that should have stopped it. But it didn’t,” Cheryl explained.

Cheryl tried to hit the button that they claim will take her off the list. It didn’t work. Eventually she hit 1 to talk to a real person at “Card member services” and complain.

“He started to mock me and said well isn’t that too bad that you got two calls. You should come to my house I get two or three every day,” the man who answered said.

Finally, Cheryl filed an online complaint with the FCC.

The FCC and the FTC have received more than two million complaints about robocalls this year. Still, there is little the federal government can do. Consumer advocate Ed Dworsky says every time a company is shut down, it just comes back under a different name or a new one pops up.

“You need an engineering solution to figure out what can be done within the telephone network to stop these robocalls,” Dworsky explained. He says a phone company in Canada has formulated a computer program to screen their customers’ calls for them.

That’s the kind of idea the FTC is hoping for with their $50,000 reward.

Cheryl hopes someone has an idea to put “Rachel” and her friends out of business so she can enjoy a peaceful night without the incessant ringing of her phone.

“We are the ones paying the monthly bill for the phone so why would someone else feel that they can take over that which we have paid for,” she said.

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