How to Deal With Robocalls Threatening Legal Action

Almost twenty billion robocalls were placed nationwide in 2020! In individual terms, we are talking 59.4 calls per person over just six months!

It is no secret that robocalls in America have become a serious privacy risk. A whopping 25% of robocalls made in 2018 were fraudulent.

Robocall scammers try to get a hold of your personal information and use it for credit card and identity frauds. The worst part is that they started threatening to take legal action if you refuse to pay them or divulge your personal information!


What Are Robocalls?

For a call to qualify as a robocall, the telemarketer or scammer has to use an autodialer. Regardless of whether you receive a pre-recorded message, or if a real person is on the other side of the call, as long as the software is responsible for the dialing, you are dealing with a robocall.

One of the biggest issues with robocalls nowadays is that the software is so advanced that it is capable of dialing up to one million numbers in a single hour.

Because of this technological advancement, The FTC (Federal Communications Commission) does not allow businesses to use autodialing technology for marketing purposes unless specific requirements are met.

How Scammers Set Up Robocall Operations

Unfortunately, setting up a robocall scam is not that difficult. In essence, fraudsters take the following five steps to secure a favorable outcome:

  1. Purchase leads
  2. Get access to America’s phone network
  3. Kickstart the autodialer software
  4. Manage a phone bank
  5. Convert the income

Purchasing Leads

Telemarketers usually purchase leads lists through legal businesses that sell them. Scammers purchase them in the same exact way. In fact, for just a couple of thousands of dollars, they can get access to millions of personal phone numbers.

Making a Deal With Small Phone Providers

The second step is to get into America’s phone network. While the FTC closely monitors large phone providers’ operations, small businesses usually get a pass on these controls. Robocall scammers know this, and that is why they turn to these small phone providers to get into the nation’s phone network.

Autodialing Is the Key

The third step is to set up an autodialing software that can make hundreds of thousands of calls in less than an hour. Because only three to five percent of people answer their calls, dialing as many numbers in a short period of time as possible is the key to their success.

Operating a Phone Bank

Because a pre-recorded message cannot extort money and personal information from you, robocall scammers have an operating phone bank with real people managing the calls. If you end up giving the scammer a call-back, one of these people will pick up the phone and try to seal the deal.

Converting the Income

The last step scammers take, which is a precautionary step, is to convert their income into different forms of money. Gift cards are what they are mostly relying on.

Robocalls Cannot Be Legal, Right?

Well, it depends. The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) ensures that you are not bothered by telemarketers and other robocallers unless they meet specific requirements. To better understand which robocalls are legal and which are not, let us take a closer look at TCPA’s robocalling rules:

  • Robocallers have a legal obligation to identify themselves
  • You have to be offered an opt-out option
  • You can only receive calls if you provided an express written consent
  • If your number is in the National Do Not Call Registry, robocallers do not have a legal right to contact you
  • All calls made before 8 am or after 9 pm are considered illegal

Proper Identification Is Mandatory

For the call to be legal, you have to be aware of the caller’s identity. The TCPA states that the caller must:

  1. Inform the customer about his or her identity
  2. Inform the customer about the company on whose behalf the call is made

This type of information has to be revealed at the beginning of the conversation. As the call approaches its end, the caller has to provide:

  1. The company’s address
  2. The company’s phone number

In case the caller fails to provide you with this information, the call can be classified as illegal.

You Have to Be Offered to Opt-out

If you receive a pre-recorded message or a voicemail, the company is legally obliged to provide you with an opt-out option. In case of a pre-recorded message, you should be able to press a certain number to opt-out of these calls, whereas with a voice mail, the caller has to leave you with a toll-free call-back number that you can call to place your number on the company’s do not call list.

It Is Legal If You Gave an Express Written Consent

Telemarketers and other robocallers have to have your express written consent to be able to autodial you. What they cannot do is make the written consent a mandatory condition for purchasing services and products from them.

An express written consent can be provided in various forms, and these are defined by the E-SIGN Act.

If you know that you have not provided the caller with your written consent, you are able to file a lawsuit against them.

Dealing With Threatening Robocalls with DoNotPay

DoNotPay has a long history of helping people sue companies in small claims court. Threatening robocalls are yet another issue that we can help you sort out legally through our app’s Robo Revenge feature.

Robo Revenge assists you with tracking down robocall scammers and suing them for up to $3,000 in settlements!

For the time being, we can only assist you with domestic robocall scammers. We need to know the caller’s address to be able to file a claim. When it comes to overseas robocallers, it is impossible to get a hold of such information.

To start your robocall dismantling journey, simply open DoNotPay in a web browser or by downloading the iOS app.

Here is how DoNotPay deals with threatening robocalls:

  1. You receive a threatening robocall
  2. The scammer tries to draw money or personal information from you
  3. You open DoNotPay and select Robo Revenge
  4. Our app provides you with a fake credit card
  5. You share the fake card info with the caller
  6. DoNotPay tracks down the scammer
  7. We write a demand letter and help you file a claim against the robocaller

Donotpay Puts You on the Do Not Call Registry

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Before everything else, our app will make sure that your number is put on the National Do Not Call Registry.

All phone numbers that are listed on this registry cannot be legally dialed by telemarketers and other robocallers.

DoNotPay’s Fake Virtual Credit Card

DoNotPay’s virtual credit card plays a crucial role in fighting the good fight against malicious robocall scammers.

First of all, the virtual credit card keeps your genuine banking information protected and prevents the fraudster from charging your account. Secondly, when the scammer tries to charge the virtual card, we can use the transaction details to track them down and file a claim against them.

Famous Robocalls Threatening Legal Proceedings

Over the years, there have been many scams involving threats of legal proceedings. These types of robocalls are probably the most unpleasant ones because it is hard to figure them out quickly.

To give you a better idea of how these robocalls sound, here are a few examples of voicemail scams threatening legal action:

  • Audio transcript provided by the FCC: Please listen to this message in its entirety. There is currently a motion being filed to suspend all bank accounts and tax returns bearing your name and social security number. To review immediate rights and details, and avoid all further proceedings, please contact our firm at 1-844-898-XXXX*, or you may press “one” to be transferred to your case manager immediately.
  • Audio transcript: Kindly revert as soon as possible on our number, that is 804-207-XXXX* – I repeat, 804-207-XXXX* – before we begin with the legal proceedings. Thank you. Have a nice day. If you wish to speak with our executive, then press “one” now. (That was an invalid entry.) [Preceding two sentences repeated.]

Though threatening robocalls are not exactly rare, some scams are more common than others. To help you recognize these frauds faster, here are the things to look out for:

Scam

How to Recognize It

IRS scam

IRS scams are extremely common and daunting, but they can be easily recognized if you know how the IRS works:

  • The IRS will never ask you to make a payment to organizations other than the U.S. Treasury
  • The IRS will never threaten to arrest you for not paying your bills
  • The IRS will always allow you to question and appeal the owed amount
  • The IRS does not use payment methods such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, and others

Social Security Administration scam

As of September 2019, a new Social Security Administration scam started to plague America. These hoaxes threaten to delete your Social Security Number if you do not pay your alleged overdue bills. Like we have mentioned with the IRS scam, the government never communicates with its taxpayers in this way. Usually, you would receive a notice via U.S. Mail, not by a phone call. Previous SSA scams mostly targeted the elderly, but these new scammers do not pick and choose their victims.

Google SEO scam

Though the famous Google SEO scam does not involve arrests and legal proceedings, the scammers do threaten their victims by saying that their Google listings will be wiped out. Small business owners are the typical targets of these Google scams. The fraudster will claim that you have to pay additional SEO services to avoid getting abolished from the internet, basically. Google went on record to say that the company does not autodial its customers.

Most Affected States By Area Code

Not all American states are equally affected by robocall scams. To make the picture clearer on which states are the major targets of robocall frauds, here is a list of the most plagued ones:

Area Code

Number of Robocalls in 2019

404 (Atlanta, Georgia)

986,728,200
214 (Dallas, Texas)

864,302,100

832 (Houston, Texas)

833,121,300
678 (Atlanta, Georgia)

731,371,700

917 (New York, New York)

579,636,900
954 (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

578,325,300

310 (Los Angeles, California)

555,407,700

What Can You Do about Robocalls Threatening Legal Action?

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The best thing you could do to protect yourself is to start using DoNotPay’s Robo Revenge service and claim up to $3,000 in settlements!

Apart from our app, there are some general precautionary measures you can take to fight back against malicious robocall scammers. These steps include:

  • Putting your number on the National Do Not Call Registry
  • Not answering calls from unknown numbers
  • Not providing your personal information

FTC’s Do Not Call Registry

If you do not want to be bothered by telemarketers, putting your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry is a smart thing to do. Here is how to do it:

  1. Visit FTC’s Do Not Call website
  2. Select Report Unwanted Calls
  3. Provide information regarding the unwanted call
  4. Submit your request

If you are not particularly tech-savvy, you can always give the FTC a call and submit your request by simply dialing 1-888-382-1222.

The “Do Not Answer” Strategy

One simple solution to annoying robocalls is not to pick up calls from unknown numbers. You might think that blocking numbers on your cell phone would be an effective solution, but it is not because scammers tend to change their numbers frequently.

Receiving calls from numbers extremely similar to yours is something you should pay special attention to. Because scammers know that it is highly unlikely that you will pick up a call coming from a different state, they have grown accustomed to spoofing their numbers and attaching local area codes to them!

Never Provide Your Personal Information

No matter how persuasive the caller may be, and how much they seem to know about you, never provide them with your personal information. Scammers use your data to commit identity and credit card frauds.

In some cases, the fraudsters do not even ask for money or your personal information, but they rather ask you a few questions and record your voice. They use these recordings later on to authorize transactions over the phone.

How to Block Threatening Robocalls on Your Phone?

Regardless of whether you are using an iOS or Android device, your phone comes with a built-in function to block specific numbers. If you end up experiencing repeated unpleasant robocalls, you can use this function to block the scammer.

Blocking Numbers with Android Devices

To block a number with an Android device, you should:

  1. Access the Phone app
  2. Select Recent Calls
  3. Tap the number and select block or report as spam
  4. Confirm that you want to block this number

In case you want to block all unknown numbers from reaching you, you can:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap on Settings
  3. Select Blocked Numbers
  4. Enable the switch for blocking all unidentified numbers

Blocking Numbers with iOS Devices

To block a number with an iOS device, you should:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Select Recents
  3. Tap on the info icon next to the number you want to block
  4. Tap Block this Caller
  5. Select Block Contact

If you are using a device with iOS 13 or higher, you have the option to silence unknown callers instead. Your phone will automatically forward these unknown calls to voicemail, and you will have the option to go through them later on.

To silence unknown callers, you can:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Phone
  3. Turn on the Silence Unknown Callers switch

Popular Third-party Robocall-blocking Apps

While a lot of carriers offer their customers free robocall-blocking services, some of the most effective ones come from third-party providers such as:

App

Service Overview

Nomorobo

  • A free, two-week trial period
  • Only $1,99 per month
  • Free for VoIP landlines
  • Allows legal robocalls

YouMail

  • Free for basic service
  • $5,99 per month for YouMail Plus and $10,99 per month for the YouMail Professional package
  • Accurate transcription service
  • Solid voicemail feature

RoboKiller

  • A free seven-day free trial period
  • $2,99 per month or $24,99 per year for Android devices
  • $3,99 per month or $29,99 per year for iOS devices
  • Answer bots come as standard

Truecaller

  • Free for basic service
  • $2,99 per month or $26,9 per year for Truecaller Premium and $249 per year for Truecaller Premium Gold
  • Customizable blacklist

DoNotPay Solves Your Problems

Robocalls threatening legal action are a serious problem DoNotPay can help you resolve. But, there is so much more we can do for you. Through our app’s many features, you can also:

To get our help with some of these tedious everyday tasks, open DoNotPay through a web browser or download the iOS app.