The Federal Communication Commission reports U.S. consumers are on the receiving end of approximately 2.4 billion robocalls every month (as of last year). That’s an increase from the average 1.5 billion roboscam calls that were made monthly in 2015. So it’s unsurprising that robocalls are the No. 1 consumer complaint. These were driven in large part by internet-powered telephone systems that have allowed scammers to make massive volumes of calls cheaply and efficiently from any point on earth.
Even though the FCC and other agencies have protections in place to help consumers avoid these unwanted (and sometimes dangerous) calls, the number of those that are received are still extremely high. These calls are more than just annoying. The reality is many people are scammed out of their hard-earned savings, retirement accounts or checking accounts. For example, just one scheme in which robocallers were pretending to be agents with the Internal Revenue Service garnered scammers more than $54 million in a single year, according to the FCC. If there was no financial incentive, people wouldn’t make these calls. Clearly, they are worth the scammers’ time.
As The New York Times recently reported, there may be several actions consumers can take to protect themselves. These ranged from not answering the phone to seeking government help.
Miami consumer protection lawyers know one of the most effective means to address this issue is not to answer the phone when someone calls you from a number you don’t recognize. These individuals are well-trained and have a script. They know how to make you insecure or concerned. Sometimes, you may be directed to an automated system. If you press a number with the promise of “opting out,” what you have actually done is verified your number is a working one, which could make you a target in the future.
Secondly, you should consider placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Then, if you are receiving unwanted calls, you can report them. This can be a helpful tool, but it won’t protect you entirely. The reality is out-of-country callers are unlikely to be fined by the U.S. government.
Thirdly, there are a number of apps that may be able to provide assistance. Apps like Nomorobo, RoboKiller and Truecaller have systems that will prevent suspicious numbers from allowing your phone to ring, and it will provide an automated message to the caller that your number is not in service. You can also reach out to your mobile carrier, some of whom block calls from numbers known to have arisen suspicion.
Fourthly, if you wanted to take it a step further, there are subscribed services from the Jolly Roger Telephone Company that allow a customer to mute the call and forward it to a robot, which is able to understand inflections and speech patterns to keep the caller engaged – protecting you AND tying up the telemarketer’s time.
Finally, be very careful what you say. This includes even answering simple questions. For example, some scammers are able to record your voice when you answer with a simple, “Yes,” allowing them to make unauthorized purchases on your credit card through automated systems.
If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs|Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Robocalls Flooding Your Cellphone? Here’s How to Stop Them, May 11, 2017, By Christopher Mele, The New York Times
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Court Certifies Consumer Rights Lawsuit Against Telemarketer , Sept. 8, 2017, Miami Consumer Rights Lawyer Blog