How to Block Junk Fax Telemarketers

How to Block Junk Fax Telemarketers 

Do you receive calls from a fax machine?  Does you fax machine spew out junk advertising?

These are typically calls from telemarketers autofax programs. Autofax dialers can produce, store, and dial telephone numbers using a random or sequential number generator. Often, they dial every number in a sequence, hoping that some are valid and they will connect to a fax machine. 

Autofax programs typically send through a scam about stock market tips.  Once they do connect, they add the fax number to their list of valid fax machines for future pitches.  You've probably seen the stack of sleazy fax advertisements by your company fax machine.


To understand the revised rules, you must first understand the meaning of the terms "unsolicited advertisement" and "established business relationship."

As defined in FCC rules, an "unsolicited advertisement" is "any material advertising the commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or services which is transmitted to any person without that person's prior express invitation or permission, in writing or otherwise."

Also as defined in FCC rules, an "established business relationship" or EBR is "a prior or existing relationship formed by a voluntary two-way communication between a person or entity and a business or residential subscriber with or without an exchange of consideration [payment], on the basis of an inquiry, application, purchase or transaction by the business or residential subscriber regarding products or services offered by such person or entity, which relationship has not been previously terminated by either party."

How to Block Fax Calls

The FCC rules prohibit unsolicited fax advertisements (under most circumstances). In general, to stop unwanted fax advertisements, you must make an "opt-out" request which must:

  • identify the fax number or numbers to which it relates; and
  • be sent to the telephone number, fax number, Web site address, or e-mail address identified on the fax advertisement.

If you change your mind about receiving fax advertisements, you can subsequently grant express permission to receive faxes from a particular sender, orally or in writing.

This won't necessarily stop the faxes - especially if they are scammers deliberately violating the law, but it does give you the right to sue them.  So, if that didn't work, what's next?

Try to Identify the Sender

  1. Try a Google search of any of the phone numbers on the fax, such as the sending number (if it is present), the respond-to number or removal-me number.
  2. Check whether the FCC has already received complaints about the fax:
    Click here to visit Telecommunications Consumers Division - Unsolicited Faxes and search for the title of the fax in the search box on that page.
  3. See if this Junk Fax website has identified the fax:
    click here to search the Junk Fax Index
  4. Trap  the call - After you receive a junk fax, immediately dial *57. Note the date and time on the fax. You can call the police to report harassing phone calls or call the phone company to do the same and require them to start monitoring your line for more calls. Once the phone company tells you the number,  you have to find the owner of the number.  See this website for more information.
  5. Call the Remove-me number and match the response against the table below. ss doing an excellent job of helping to identify junk faxers.  See this page for their current source information of the examples in the table below.
Remove-me number If the removal Recording starts with something like this ... Broadcaster
800-305-6892 "thank you for calling the fax removal hotline. Enter the 10 digit telephone you wished to have removed. Press the # key when finished."Protus.MP3 Protus IP Solutions
888 217 8253 "You have reached the fax number removal line. Starting with the area code, please dial your 10 digit fax number" Protus IP Solutions
866-834-1757 "Please enter the 10 digit fax number you wish to have removed from our list followed by the # sign" Concord Technologies
877-360-0715  "Please listen carefully and select from one of the following..." To be identified
800-405-5537  "Hello. If we have sent you a fax in error, please press 1 to remove your number..." CF Services, LLC*
888-531-0963 "To be removed from our list, please enter your 3 digit area code and 7 digit fax number. Please do not enter a 1 before the area code." Ellipsis, Inc.
877-212-5608 "to be removed from our list, please enter your 3 digit area code and 7 digit fax number. please do not enter a 1 before the area code." To be identified

at least 3 variations: "welcome to the fax removal system. To remove your fax number, please enter your 10 digit fax number including the area code." alternates with "you have reached the fax removal number. if you no longer wish to receive our faxes, ...." and "welcome to the toll free fax number removal service. to have your fax number removed, ..."
(note: they dial numbers from the database)
Headers are modified each time to make them look different and they use multiple removal recordings, changing the voices frequently.
Jan 06 2005 07:23  Travel Center  -> 12135551212  Page 1 of 1
Jan 06 2005 07:23  Travel Center  12135551212  p.1
see DigitalSpeed Communications

Methods to stop the faxes

  • Put "Privacy Director" service from the phone company on your fax lines.  Calls from unidentified numbers will be blocked.
  • Calling them and asking to be removed generally does not work, as these scammers are already operating outside the law, they don't care, and will probably put your number of a list of now-verified fax numbers to sell to others scammers.

Annoy the scammers

  • Some people have taken to faxing back to the fax number that sent them the junk fax.  They fax them a few sheets of black construction paper. Their toner will be used quickly and probably put their fax machine out of use with a maintenance needed unless they are using computers in that case you are only annoying them by making them look at black faxes on the computer.
  • Other people call the scammers back to engage them in idle conversation, just to waste their time. Of course this has the disadvantage of providing them your phone number, as *67 tto block sending your caller ID doesn't work with 800 numbers. They use a different system called ANI (see this page for more information).

How the FCC Can Help

The FCC can issue warning citations and impose fines against companies violating or suspected of violating the junk fax rules, but does not award individual damages. If you have received a fax advertisement from someone who does not have an EBR with you or to whom you have not provided prior express permission to send fax advertisements, you can file a complaint with the FCC:

  • using the FTC's on-line complaint Form 1088 or
  • emailing; or
  • calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; or
  • faxing 1-866-418-0232; or
  • writing to:     Federal Communications Commission
                        Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
                        Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division
                        445 12th Street, SW
                        Washington, DC 20554.

What to Include in Your Complaint

The best way to provide all the information needed for the FCC to process your junk fax complaint is to complete fully the on-line complaint Form 1088. The opening pages of the Form 1088 will direct you to the Form 1088A, which asks specific questions relevant to junk faxes. If you do not use the on-line complaint Form 1088, your complaint, at a minimum, should indicate:

  • your name, address, e-mail address, and phone number where you can be reached;

  • the home or business number where you received the unsolicited fax advertisement;

  • date and time of the fax;

  • whether the fax advertised or sold any property, goods, or services;

  • the sender's name, phone number, or number of the sending fax machine, and whether this information was provided on the first page or in a margin at the top or bottom of each page;

  • any other information such as Web site or e-mail address to help identify the sender or individual or company whose property, goods, or services were being advertised or sold;

  • any number, Web site, or e-mail address provided to allow you to "opt-out" of future faxes;

  • whether you or anyone else in your household or business gave the sender permission to fax an advertisement to you;

  • whether you have an EBR with the sender (specifically, whether you or anyone else in your household or business made any purchases of property, goods, or services from the sender, or made any inquiry or filed an application with the individual or company prior to receiving the fax); and

  • whether you or anyone in your household or business previously asked the sender or individual or company whose property, goods, or services are being advertised or sold NOT to fax, and when and how (call, e-mail, or Web site) you made the request.

You may also submit a copy of the fax with your complaint, either electronically or by fax or mail using the Consumer Center contact information above.

Additional Places to Go for Help

You can file TCPA-related complaints with your state authorities, including your local or state consumer protection office or your state Attorney General's office. Contact information for these organizations should be in the blue pages or government section of your local telephone directory.

How to Sue the Telemarketers

You can also bring a private suit against the violator in an appropriate court of your state. Through a private suit, you can either recover the actual monetary loss that resulted from the TCPA violation, or receive up to $500 in damages for each violation, whichever is greater. The court may triple the damages for each violation if it finds that the defendant willingly or knowingly committed the violation. Filing a complaint with the FCC does not prevent you from also bringing a suit in state court.

More questions?

See this page about junk fax laws and regulations

See this list of frequently asked questions, direct from the FTC.

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