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Maryland ranks 9th in U.S. in robocall complaints

Maryland ranks ninth in the U.S. in complaints about robocalls, the Federal Trade Commission said in a report.

Consumers and businesses that signed up on the national Do Not Call Registry filed 7.2 million complaints about robocalls and live telemarketers in fiscal 2017, up from 5.23 million complaints in the previous year, the FTC said in its biennial report to Congress, released in December.

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The registry, which allows consumers to choose whether or not to receive telemarketing calls, has more than 229 million active registrations, including nearly 4.7 million in Maryland.

Maryland consumers filed more than 150,000 complaints in fiscal 2017, putting it in the top 10 of the states with the most complaints based on population. New Jersey, Delaware and Florida held the top three spots. Most of the complaints nationally are for robocalls.

More than 54 million robocalls were made to Maryland area codes in November alone, including many that were unwanted and illegal, consumer advocates at the National Consumer Law Center said. Any robocall to a cell phone violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act unless the recipient consents to the call.

The law center said it believes the problem is worse than the FTC complaint numbers show.

“The FTC’s complaint data illustrates a rapid expansion of the use of robocall technology and the toll these abusive calls take on consumers,” said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the law center, in a statement. “However, the complaint database understates the full extent of the problem of abusive robocalls.”

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