Robocalls Are A Public Nuisance

Do you agree that robocalls are a public nuisance? If so, I have a bit of good news. The Supreme Court just upheld a 1991 law that prohibits nearly all non-emergency robocalls to cellphones without the consumer’s consent.

Robocalls Are A Public Nuisance

The Supreme Court struck down a provision that allowed robocalls to go out to millions of consumers, who have loans that are guaranteed by the Federal Government. Therefore, consumers who have a government-backed mortgage or a federal student loan will no longer be harassed by debt collectors, if their payment becomes delinquent.

This loophole allowing debt collectors to robocall consumers, without their consent, was originally slipped into a 2015 budget bill.  According to an announcement from Consumer Reports, “The Supreme Court has now ruled that those collecting debt, on behalf of the federal government, cannot get preferential treatment when it comes to robocalling.”  You can read more about this new ruling here   

MEANWHILE

On another front, consumers will hopefully benefit from an anti-robocall bill that Congress passed in December 2019. The bill requires phone companies to help stop ‘spoofed’ scam calls before they reach your phone. Telecommunications companies were given the authority to use technology to proactively identify and block robocalls. However, the phone companies have until June 2021 to comply.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stepped-up enforcement power to levy heavy penalties and fines against robocall violators.

Unknown Robocaller
Don’t Answer The Phone!

MOST ROBOCALLS ARE ILLEGAL

Robocalls are automated phone messages that provide a call back number or ask you to press a number on your phone, to be connected to someone. Don’t take the bait!  Never press any numbers and never call them back, no matter how urgent the message sounds!

Robocallers use internet technology referred to as ‘spoofing’ to hide their true location. Spoofed calls are numbers that can mimic your bank, the IRS, or even your own phone number.

When these calls are placed, the recipient’s Caller ID displays whatever phone number the robocaller wants you to see on your Caller ID. It’s best to just let unknown callers go to voicemail. If you happen to pick up the phone, just hang up!

Yes indeed, robocalls are a public nuisance, but I’m optimistic that by next summer, we should see a swift decline in robocalls. Fingers crossed!

Read a prior Article I wrote about Robocall Scams

Here’s another prior article I wrote about the new bill regarding Robocalls

ROBOCALLS AND PHONE SCAMS

The US Senate and the FCC has finally taken up the battle against Robocalls and Phone Scams. This federal intervention should provide much needed relief to consumers. Estimates of robocalls and phone scams have grown from 29% of all calls in 2018 to as much as 45% of all phone calls in 2019.

THE TRACED ACT

In May the US Senate approved the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrance (TRACED) Act by a 97-1 vote.  Don’t you just love how they come up with these nifty names?  Also, I wonder which Senator was the only one who didn’t think this legislation should be passed. The TRACED Act grants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped-up enforcement power to levy heavy penalties and fines against violators.

Additionally, the FCC voted unanimously to finally grant telecommunications companies the authority to use technology to proactively identify and block Robocallers.  A summit was held in July with carriers to identify a framework for implementing these new guidelines. The FCC says it is committed to pursuing “aggressive enforcement action” against Robocallers.

Robocalls and Phone Scams
STOP CALLING ME!!!

MOST ALL ROBOCALLS ARE ILLEGAL

Robocallers often place their calls using internet technology that hides their location. When these calls come in, your Caller ID usually displays a “spoofed” (fake) phone number. Tens of millions of these calls are blasted out each day. Most robocalls and phone scams are automated voice messages.

Industry stakeholders are working to implement a caller ID authentication system. Once implemented, it should help the accuracy of caller ID information and help consumers determine which calls are authenticated.

EXAMPLES OF 2 NEW ROBOCALL TACTICS

‘Neighborhood Spoofing’ and the ‘One Ring Scam’ are two of the newest tactics being used to get you to pick up or call back. Neighborhood Spoofing is when a fraudster alters their phone # to look like a phone number with the same area code as yours. The One Ring Scam involves a Robocaller hanging up after only one phone ring, hoping you’ll be curious enough to call back.

THWART ROBOCALLS AND PHONE SCAMS

  • Don’t Engage: Don’t pick up if it’s a number you don’t recognize. Let it go to voicemail.
  • Don’t Answer: Don’t pick up or return any calls you don’t recognize
  • Don’t Encourage Them: If you are instructed to press a “key” to be taken off their list or to speak to an operator you are, in essence, logging your number as a working number. You will be targeted for even more annoying calls. Hang up without pressing any keys!
  • Block Them: Block Robocall phone numbers on your phone, but realize that telemarketers change phone numbers often.
  • Use Technology: Use call blocking options for your cellphone
  • List: Add your number on the Do Not Call Registry  If your number is already registered and you still get unwanted calls, report them  to help expose and catch these fraudulent callers.
  • Forward: SPAM text messages to 7726 (or SPAM)
  • Report: File a Complaint to help investigators detect and track patterns in Robocalls. Call the Federal Trade Commission at 888-382-1222.

Read my prior article about Robocalls here.

FCC Consumer Resources