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Robocalls and Spam

Why are you getting so many phone calls, texts, emails, and mail? Often, it’s because of scammers.

Scammers try to get your money, personal information, or passwords, often by impersonating respected businesses or individuals in distress. Scammers try to get you to answer automated robocalls and to respond to prompts by pressing buttons on your keypad. Scammers try to get you to click on links that are sent to you in texts or emails. And they try to get you to respond to traditional mail, sometimes threatening to cancel utilities. Scammers frequently ignore Do Not Call restrictions because they already intend to break the law by stealing your money, identity, or passwords.

Common Scams

In 2023, the Federal Trade Commission reported that the most common scam calls were related to medical needs and prescriptions, followed by calls related to reducing debt and energy, solar, and utilities. Commonly reported text message scams included bogus bank fraud warnings. Other well-known phone-based scams include scams related to warranties or the IRS.

Best Practices

Best practice is not to answer calls from suspicious phone numbers. Scammers also know how to “spoof” the numbers of respected businesses or other phone numbers in your area code, so consumers should also be wary of recognizable numbers if the calls are otherwise suspicious.

Text messaging is particularly dangerous because a consumer might click on a link in a text and begin entering a password, not realizing that the link was phony and the password is being recorded. You should never click on links that are texted to you – for example, by what seems like a bank. Instead, you should navigate to the bank’s website on your own internet browser if you have any questions about bank activity.

Reporting Fraud

Fraud can be reported to the California Attorney General at oag.ca.gov/contact/general-contact-form.

Fraud can be reported to the FTC at reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Consumer complaints may be filed with the FCC at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us.

If you have registered your number on the Do Not Call Registry for at least 31 days and the call is a sales call, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission here: https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx.

Stopping Robocalls and Phone-Call Scams


The FTC provides tips on blocking unwanted calls, dealing with robocalls, avoiding phone scams, and signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry. This information is found at ftc.gov/calls and in Spanish at ftc.gov/llamadas.

The FTC provides tips on robocall scams, including illegal robocalls and steps people can take to avoid robocall scams. This information is found at ftc.gov/RobocallScams.

Phone Scams

The FTC provides tips on the broader topic of phone scams. This information is found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/phone-scams.

The Federal Communications Commission provides tips on how to stop unwanted robocalls and avoid phone scams. This information is found at fcc.gov/call-blocking/.

Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop unwanted sales calls from real companies that follow the law. It is free to register your home or cell phone number. The Registry does not actually block calls; it simply tells registered telemarketers what numbers not to call. It won’t stop scammers from making illegal calls, but it can reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls you receive.

The FTC provides tips on how to register for the Do Not Call Registry at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/national-do-not-call-registry-faqs.

Stopping Text Spam

The FTC provides tips on how to recognize and report spam text messages. This information is found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-report-spam-text-messages.

The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance regarding common IRS scams, including making clear that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Scammers have used the regular mail, telephone, and email to scam thousands of people of millions of dollars. The IRS provides tips regarding signs of a scam and how to know if it is really the IRS. This information is found at www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scamsconsumer-alerts.

Stopping Email Spam

The FTC provides tips on how to get less spam in your email and how to prevent your device from being infected by malware or controlled remotely by scammers. This information is found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0210-how-get-less-spam-your-email.

Stopping Junk Mail

The FTC provides tips on how to avoid having your mailbox crammed with mail you don’t want, including less mail from marketers like preapproved credit card applications. This information is found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-stop-junk-mail.

The FTC provides tips related to common mail scams, including fake prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams. This information is found at consumer.ftc.gov/articles/fake-prize-sweepstakes-and-lottery-scams.

This fact sheet is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or as policy of the State of California. If you want advice on a particular case, you should consult an attorney or other expert. The fact sheet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of the copied text is not changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Department of Justice, and (3) all copies are distributed free of charge.