Telephone technology has exploded in the last several years and, along with it, the ability of telephone scam artists to reach an audience. While caller identification services allowed us to screen calls and ignore numbers we didn’t know—thus avoiding an unwanted sales call—newer internet technology now allows callers to mask their number or even call from a number we trust. Once they get you to answer, they have won half the battle. As a smart consumer, you should be aware of these tricks and learn how to avoid a scam.
Who Can Call With a Pre-recorded Message?
Not all robocalls are illegal. Messages that are purely informational are permitted. You might receive information about a flight delay, an appointment reminder, or a school closing notice, for example. Some healthcare providers and businesses give you the chance to subscribe to certain pre-recorded calls, such as for prescription refills and account payments. Political campaign calls are permitted as well.
What Practices Are Illegal?
Any recorded call that is attempting to sell you something is illegal. Businesses cannot use robocalling to promote the sale of any products or services. When someone breaks the law and uses automated calling to try to sell you something, it is often a scam. They may be trying to collect information from you or are simply trying to identify valid numbers and consumers who are willing to answer. The best thing to do when you get a recorded sales call is to hang up. Do not follow the instructions to press a number or answer any questions. You may also want to have the number blocked and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
How Do These Rules Apply to Debt Collectors?
If you owe money and your debt has been turned over to a debt collection agency, the agency may use an automated calling system to inform you of a debt or remind you of a payment, but it may not use a robocall to try to sell you a debt reduction service. If you are receiving numerous robocalls about your debt, it may be considered debt harassment. Contact the Consumer Law Group to learn more.