What is a robocall?
A robocall is a potentially annoying but sometimes helpful automated telephone call delivering you a recorded message. The term robocall is often used to reference other types of calls made by spammers, spoofers, scammers and more.
Spammers can be an individual or an organization who send out automated phone calls in a manner that is in willful non-compliance with state and federal laws governing the use of auto-dialers.
Spoofers can be an individual or an organization that knowingly sends misleading or inaccurate Caller ID information. These calls may be placed manually or through an auto-dialer. Spoofers often use a bunch of different methods to mask who they are by changing their telephone number in order to show a completely different number. This will usually show up as a number which looks like its from your area codo or may even be familiar to you.
Scammers can be an individual or an organization who thumb their nose at state and federal laws to make their calls to you with the intent of committing identity theft or other types of fraudulent behavior. Bad Hombres!
Are robocalls legal?
When get a call, you pick up the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, that is what is called a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, more than likely those calls are illegal. You may also be targeted, so be careful as these calls probably are scams.
Here’s what you need to know about robocalls and what you can do about them…
A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you in that way. To get your permission, the company must be clear in asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.
A few types of robocalls are allowed under FTC rules without your permission. You probably have received political calls about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. These are legal robocalls.
Why do I get so many robocalls?
Well, frankly because it is very profitable to scammers and cheats. That is why you’ll want to be very cautious when answering all calls. It’s also very cheap and simple for scammers and telemarketers to make robocalls over the internet from anywhere in the world, so always be on the lookout.
What kinds of robocalls are allowed without my permission?
Under FTC rules, some robocalls don’t require your permission:
Messages that are purely informational. Robocalls about your flight being cancelled, reminding you about an appointment, or letting you know about a delayed school opening fall into this category, as long as the caller doesn’t also try to sell you something.
Debt collection calls. A business contacting you to collect a debt can use robocalls to reach you. But robocalls that try to sell you services to reduce your debt are illegal and are scams most of the time.
Political calls. sorry
Calls from some health care providers. This includes a robocall from a pharmacy which might be reminding you to refill a prescription.
Messages from charities. Charities can make these calls themselves. But if a charity hires someone to make robocalls on its behalf, the robocalls can only go to members of the charity or prior donors. They also must include an automated option to let you stop future calls.
What should I do if I get an illegal robocall?
Hang up. Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead. Just hang up.
Report the call to the FTC at DoNotCall.gov. Its very helpful to report the number on your caller ID and any number you’re told to call back, which helps us track down the scammers behind the call. Even if you think the number on your caller ID is fake, report it. The FTC analyzes these complaints to identify illegal callers based on their calling patterns.
The FTC receives the phone numbers you report and releases them to the public each business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.
Why doesn’t the Do Not Call Registry stop robocalls?
The National Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from real companies that follow the law. The Registry is a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. Scammers don’t care if you’re on the Registry.
Even though the National Do Not Call Registry can’t stop all of the unwanted calls you’re getting, being on the Registry could make it easier for you to spot scam calls. If a caller is ignoring the Registry or making an illegal robocall, simply hang up because more than likely its another scam.
For more information on robocalls, visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information site https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0259-robocalls