The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to move forward in its crackdown on unwanted and intrusive robocalls. Consumers find these automated “robocalls” and text messages to be inherently offensive and harassing, particularly when they are made on a repeat basis, often outside of normal business hours.
According to the FCC’s October 2016 Robocall Strike Force Report, telemarketing calls were reported to be the top consumer complaint. U.S. consumers received around 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016 alone. Although the FCC tries to aid consumers in avoiding unwanted robocalls, there is still an unacceptably high volume of annoying calls, many if not most tied to fraud schemes.
“If the robocalls were not valuable to the scammers, they wouldn’t be doing them,” stated Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint. Internet-powered phone systems allow for this abundance of unwanted robocalls because technology has made it cheap and easy for such calls to span the entire globe.
The New York Times offers consumers a series of tips on how to fight these infuriating and dangerous robocalls. First and foremost, they recommend not answering calls from numbers you do not know. This is by far the most simple and effective remedy for avoiding unwanted robocalls. Experts note that interacting at all with these calls can cause problems, as the most unethical robocallers will try to manipulate consumers to say the word “yes” any way they can, then using a recorded version of that affirmative to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.
While consumers can list their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, experts note that many robocalling companies just don’t care about the Registry. Consumers do have the option of reporting robocalls, and can also leverage various apps to try to block many of them.
Unfortunately, as reported by the New York Times, robocalls continue to proliferate – “It is all about volume. Companies can use software to make millions of calls at very little expense. They need only a few victims to fall prey to their schemes to more than cover their costs.”
Lieff Cabraser’s Work on Behalf of Consumers
Lieff Cabraser has spearheaded a series of groundbreaking class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), which prohibits abusive telephone practices by lenders and marketers, and places strict limits on the use of autodialers to call or send texts or robocalls to cell phones.
Lieff Cabraser is currently investigating complaints that other financial institutions and companies are making pre-recorded phone calls related to loans or credit card offers to customers’ cellular phones without their prior express consent. If you have received such a call, or similar text messages, please contact a national consumer protection attorney for a free, no-obligation review of your case.
Lieff Cabraser champions the rights of consumers across America and has successfully prosecuted scores of consumer class action lawsuits against many of the largest U.S. banks, financial service companies, and corporations. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements in excess of $3 billion for consumers in these cases. Learn more about Lieff Cabraser’s consumer protection practice.