Don’t get caught by the latest robocall scam. First off, you might ask, “What is a Robocall?” A Robocall is a phone call that uses a computerized auto dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message, as if from a robot. Robocalls are often associated with political and telemarketing phone campaigns, but can also be used for public-service or emergency announcements. Basically if you if you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. If the recording is a sales message and you have not given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal.
Don’t Answer “Can You Hear Me?”
As part of the latest scam, the computerized caller, instead of mentioning who they are, instead asks “Can you hear me?” If you say ‘Yes” that they can hear the robocall, your reply of ‘Yes” is recorded and then used to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone on utility or credit card accounts. This is according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC recently issued a consumer alert against just such scammers. They are saying the scam is prevalent, based on complaints the agency has received and from news reports across the U.S. The fraudulent callers may impersonate familiar organizations to get you to answer and talk.
Also, according to FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, “Robocalls are the number one consumer complaint to the FCC from the public. Every month, U.S. consumers are bombarded by an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls”. In March, the commission voted to begin a rulemaking process to eliminate robocalls.
“Not only are unwanted robocalls intrusive and irritating, but they are also frequently employed to scam our most vulnerable populations, like elderly Americans, out of their hard-earned dollars,” Pai said.
What should you do if you receive a Robocall?
Hang up immediately or don’t even answer, especially if it is from an unknown number.
If you have gotten a call such as this, review your credit card and telephone bills immediately, as well as your bank statement for unauthorized charges. If there are unauthorized charges, immediately report the incident to the FCC Consumer Help Center. If you have the number saved in your phone, write the number down and add that to your FCC complaint.
I personally have all my family and other loved one’s telephone numbers registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. It is very easy to do. Just click on this link National Do Not Call Registry and follow the directions.
Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999. Read his full bio here.