Like nearly everybody else, you’ve had a mobile phone for some time now and, for the most part, you love it. You can call, text, tweet, email and otherwise communicate with all the important people in your world. You can get a table at your favorite restaurant, book your next flight to paradise, watch a movie, listen to your favorite tunes, or navigate your way around an unfamiliar city or countryside. Your phone goes with you everywhere. If you don’t have it on you all the time, you feel incomplete. How did we ever function without these things?
Your mobile phone makes you the lord of your realm, right? Perhaps. Unfortunately, it also makes you a perfect target for “robo-callers”. You know. It’s those computer-generated calls that intrude on your day wasting your time and perhaps your money. Now that you’re connected 24/7 you are accessible to a whole host of people and companies out there that just can’t resist calling your number in the hopes of selling you something or perhaps for other reasons.
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, robo-calls are the number one source of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission. Robo-calls are unlawful and have been for the past several years. But, they are difficult to stop. Despite significant government efforts, these calls continue to be a major problem. The Federal Trade Commission has, according to the article, shut down three large robo-call operations this year. But, consumers are still getting about 2.6 billion robo-calls every month.
Cheap, easily available technology makes it easier than ever for robo-callers to target you. Many times, these calls originate from outside the United States. The robo-callers can fake the numbers from which they are calling which makes it especially difficult to track them down. Recently, they have gotten so good at it, they can fake phone numbers with your area code that appear like a local number. This makes it more likely that the call will be answered.
Dealing with Robo-Calls
The article suggests some strategies that might help you deal with robo-calls. One suggestion is to simply not answer the call. If you do answer, don’t press any buttons or speak. If you do, you will tip the scammer off that yours is an active line and it may lead to more calls. If you speak, the scammers may try to claim that you’ve agreed to buy something from them. Also, you may want to get on the Do Not Call list and complain to the FTC. If you have an iPhone, the app Nomorobo is available for $1.99 per month. The Android app is supposed to be coming soon. You can even protect your landline with something called Digitone Call Blocker.
Another strategy to consider is legal action. A federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act may provide you with a powerful legal case against scammers. Of course, you must consult with a competent lawyer to discuss your options under this law. If you do have a successful claim, you may be entitled to a significant amount of money damages. If you think this is the case, you should contact a competent lawyer without delay or you may lose your rights.
Ed Woods is the Managing Attorney of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Mississippi. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law. Ed puts his extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law to use defending consumers from debt collection lawsuits and more. Read his full bio here.