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
identify the fax number or numbers to which it relates;
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
- 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.
- 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.
- See if this Junk Fax website has identified the fax:
click here to search the Junk Fax Index.
- 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
See this website for more information.
- Call the Remove-me number and match the response against the
JunkFax.org 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.
||If the removal Recording starts with
something like this ...
||"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
||"Please enter the 10 digit fax number you
wish to have removed from our list followed by the # sign"
||"Please listen carefully and select from one
of the following..."
To be identified
||"Hello. If we have sent you a fax in error,
please press 1 to remove your number..."
CF Services, LLC*
||"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 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 fax.com 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
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
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
- 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:
the FTC's on-line complaint Form 1088 or
(1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; 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
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
See this page about junk fax laws and
See this list of frequently
asked questions, direct from the FTC.