Robocalls. We all get them. We all hate them. These days, it’s not unlikely to get 10 or 20 robocalls per day. You may hear that you owe the IRS money, there’s a warrant out for your arrest, or something needs attention with your Social Security check. The list goes on. If you get a call that begins with a recorded message trying to sell you something or get you to send money, that is a robocall. Do not engage these scammers.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), enacted in 1992, places limits on unsolicited pre-recorded telemarketing or robocalls calls that are made to your landline home telephone and prohibits all autodialed or prerecorded calls or text messages to your cell phone. Unless you give callers written consent, the TCPA states that sales callers may not do any of the following:
- Call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Call if you have opted out of calls from that specific caller
- Call if you have added your number to the National Do Not Call Registry
- Send unsolicited fax messages to your home or office
- Refuse to provide their name, the name of the person or organization on whose behalf they are calling, and contact information for that person or organization
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is doing their best to educate the public and crack down on these robocall scams, but ever-evolving technology is allowing some of them to continue to operate and harass people. For now, most of us are still dealing with these annoying interruptions to our lives, but here are some tips to help you cut down on the number of calls you receive.
- Visit https://www.donotcall.gov/ and register your phone number with the National No Call Registry. Registrations never expire, so you won’t ever have to do this again. There are few exceptions, but in general, this should help cut down on unsolicited calls.
- If you have a smartphone, most carriers have a call blocking feature that can help cut down on calls from unknown or spoofed numbers. Spoofed numbers often look similar to your own number with the same area code and exchange, so if you see that, don’t answer and block the number.
- If your phone carrier doesn’t have a blocker or it isn’t working as well as you’d like, there are some good call-blocking apps out there that you can purchase such as RoboKiller, Nomorobo, Hiya: Spam Phone Call Blocker, Truecaller, and YouMail Voicemail & Spam Block.
- By the sheer number of calls we are all getting, it’s clear that these robocallers don’t care that they are breaking the law and won’t stop until they get caught. If the previous steps fail to work, you are still being called endlessly, and you believe that you are being called illegally, contact an attorney who has the experience and expertise to handle these matters.