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Pesky Telemarketers Finding Ways Around National Do Not Call List

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More than 200 million people are on the do not call list, but many of them say they're still getting calls from telemarketers.

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, Fred Parkes says he's been on the national do not call list since it began, but somewhere along the line it stopped working.

The retired engineer gets at least two sales calls a day, mostly from local area codes.

"They're violating the law because they are calling my number which is on the federal do not call list," Parkes said.

But as it turns out, calls from local telemarketers might not actually be illegal.

"The do not call registry only applies to phone calls that travel between states," explained Bikram Bandy, with the Federal Trade Commission.

Bandy says the federal law only applies to interstate commerce, so the FTC generally can't go after telemarketers calling from within your own state.

As for those violating the law?

"We get several hundred thousand complaints per month and obviously we don't have the resources to investigate each of those complaints individually," Bandy said.

In fact, the FTC has only taken action against 600 illegal telemarketers since the list's inception in 2003.

Bandy says while the FTC does go after the worst offenders, telemarketers are using technologies like spoofing and voice over Internet Protocols that allow them to make millions of calls cheaply and without leaving a trail.

"If you didn't have a do not call list you'd probably see even more calls coming into consumers," Bandy said.

The FTC says it's up to each state's attorney general to go after telemarketers that make calls from within their state.

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