Trump Robocall—Bill That Should Reduce the Number of Robocalls
Despite the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop robocalls, American citizens are still being bombarded by them at least twice a week. According to YouMail, 59 billion robocalls were made in 2019, and the numbers are still on the rise. Most robocalls are unwanted, but illegal calls are increasingly challenging to combat.
Scam robocalls are trying to trick you into giving them your personal and financial information, which they use to steal your money. A vast number of people are losing their savings daily, and the perfect solution is still not on the horizon.
The ongoing war between robocallers and the government escalated when President Donald Trump signed the law to increase the illegal robocall fine to $10,000. According to the new law, phone companies are now at the forefront of the battle.
What Are Robocalls and How Do They Work?
Robocalls are phone calls made using an autodialer—a device that can reach multiple targets in record speed. When you answer your phone, you will hear a pre-recorded message that usually serves for informative or marketing purposes but can also be a veiled scam attempt.
Robocallers take advantage of cheap software, which not only enables them to make mass calls but also hide from law enforcement. The advanced technology makes it easy for robocallers to mask the numbers and reach you despite the fact that most of them are doing it illegally.
Ideally, you should avoid answering robocalls, even though they appear to be coming from the same area code. The reality is different as lots of people pick up the phone, thinking it’s a business call or their neighbor. That’s precisely what robocallers count on.
Which Robocalls Are Legal?
Not all robocalls are considered illegal. Some of them are permitted and can be rather helpful. In the table below, you can see which robocalls are deemed legal.
Type of Robocall
|A robocall from an organization that is trying to sell a product is considered legal only if the company has written permission to call you. It is strictly forbidden from making the call if your number is in the Do Not Call database.|
|Messages from political candidates who are running for office are legally permitted. Both calls from a live person and a pre-recorded message are allowed for political purposes.|
|Robocalls that are coming from real debt collectors are legal, and you should always answer them.|
|Public services, such as schools and pharmacies, that inform you about updates, changes in schedule, and appointments are also legal.|
|Charities reaching out to you for donations are legally permitted to do so.|
Can the Federal Trade Commission Stop Robocalls?
The FTC has been doing a great job in reducing the number of scam robocalls, but it can’t block them. In 2009, the FTC introduced a new rule which strictly prohibits telemarketing calls unless the companies have obtained written permission from the consumer to make the call.
In 2020, the FTC has set a number of actions in motion, trying to stem the unwanted robocalls. If fraudsters have done you harm, report them to the FTC.
Did Trump Sign a Robocall Law?
President Donald Trump introduced an anti-robocall bill into the law in 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted the anti-robocall bill on a 429-3 vote.
The new law, known as Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, aims to protect citizens from illicit robocalls, especially those citizens who have put their numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry. This law enables the federal government to go after illegal robocallers.
Under the new law, the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) need to join their forces and put together a working group, which will directly submit reports to Congress on the implementation of the legislation. The group is supposed to work on finding the best ways to enforce the law against robocalls.
The bill puts the forfeiture penalty for violations into practice and allows the FCC to fine the fraudsters up to $10,000 for each illegal call they make. The FFC is allowed to fine the robocallers without warning.
By signing the bill, Trump executed a federal push against telephone fraudsters.
Scammers who hide behind the whole robocall operation always find a way to circumvent new safety measures, but it is comforting to know that the government has started fighting aggressively against the illegal and annoying robocalls. They will not disappear overnight, so it’s still vital to follow official guidelines on what to do if you have a robocall scam on your hands.
Trump Allows Providers to Block Robocalls
Even though there are tricks that consumers can use to avoid these unsolicited calls, it’s impossible to eradicate them completely. That is why the new law aims at shifting responsibility for fighting back against robocalls from customers to phone companies.
The TRACED Act requires phone companies to implement new technologies that will block robocalls before they even reach your phone. Although the new Act cannot wholly uproot the robocalls, it plays a significant role in their reduction.
Service providers are required to use caller identification to verify whether the call is legitimate. Providers aren’t allowed to charge you for this service.
Under the new law, phone companies must implement the Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited standard, also known as SHAKEN/STIR. In the SHAKEN/STIR framework, carriers use digital certificates to verify the security of a phone call.
Since robocallers enforce the advanced technology to mask their identity, SHAKEN/STIR is used to reduce caller ID spoofing. Big carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are obligated to use this new technology to protect their customers. They are required to implement it properly, and to ensure:
The law has inspired the development of new technologies that can authenticate calls and reduce the number of unsolicited robocalls.
What Is Forbidden by the Trump Robocalls Act Law?
The new law allows the punishment of any sort of criminal robocall scams. Under the law, it is illegal to:
- Defraud people by using fake numbers on Caller IDs (i.e., using call-spoofing technology)
- Make telemarketing calls in which customers, who haven’t provided the company with a written consent to call them, are persuaded into buying a product
- Dial the numbers which are registered at the National Do Not Call Database
- Persuade the customers to pay for a service before it has been rendered (also prohibited by FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule)
The authorities can now speed up the measures to identify the robocallers. The fraudsters who flout the rules on calls will be fined heavily.
Is There Anything That the New Trump Robocall Law Doesn’t Cover?
The old-school copper landline isn’t covered by Trump Robocall Act, as the industry is still trying to find the best technology to include them into the new law.
The new Act also doesn’t cover telemarketing calls that are not automated. Agencies who use people for making these calls can still harass you unless you put your number in the Do Not Call registry.
The Most Common Scam Robocalls
Scammers behind unlawful robocalls are criminals who are known for their extraordinary skill for extracting information. They rely on call-spoofing technology and defraud people out of millions of dollars. Take a look at the most frequent stories that hide behind these scam calls.
Most Common Robocall Scams
Credit card services
|Fraudsters will try to lure you into giving them your credit card information. They usually offer services that you can do on your own. For example, they could offer to lower your bills or interest rates, provided you give them your credit card number and pay $2,000 for the service. Don’t fall for such scams as revealing any financial information can cause you serious credit card issues.|
Fake IRS representatives
|Fraudsters will give you fake names and IRS badge numbers to make their story believable. They will ask for immediate payment of taxes, either by a wire transfer or your debit card. What you need to remember is that the IRS will always mail a bill to their taxpayers, but they will not ask for sensitive info or payments over the phone.|
The scammers are aware lots of people are struggling with paying bills, and they are trying to take advantage of the situation. Fraudsters count on your impaired judgment at those moments.
|The general rule is—if you have to pay, it’s not a prize. Scammers will tell you that you have won an unexpected prize in a competition you have never entered in the first place. The most popular prizes are holidays, electronic devices, or significant sums of money. Fraudsters will ask you to pay a fee for the insurance costs. If you buy the story and pay the fee, their work is done.|
How Can You Protect Yourself From Robocalls?
Although the Trump Robocall law is yet to come up with an ideal solution for the robocall infestation, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from receiving these unwanted calls. Let’s see what you can do to curb the spam and protect your information.
Put Your Number on the National Do Not Call List
If you put your number on the Do Not Call list, telemarketers are strictly prohibited from calling you. If you aren’t certain whether your number is already on the Do Not Call list, you can check that easily. It goes without saying that you will be exposed to a number of calls even if your number is in the Do Not Call database, but you will be at least partially protected.
Putting your number into the registry is rather easy. Just follow these steps:
- Visit the FTC’s website
- Click on Report Unwanted calls
- Provide information about the spam calls
- Click Submit
Do Not Reveal Your Personal Information
Even if you answer some of these scam calls, make sure not to give them any of your personal or financial information. The fraudsters have their tactics on how to get you to talk to them, and they can be persistent.
If you fall for their story, they will use your information for identity theft or credit card fraud. Scammers can run up purchases or cash advances, and thus empty all of your savings.
The bank will never ask for your personal information over the phone. They obtained everything they needed when you applied for your card. The government and the IRS will always send you an email instead of making such a call.
Do Not Answer Unknown Calls
As we have mentioned already, scammers use cheap technology to hide behind fake numbers. Neighbor spoofing is a trick fraudsters use to manipulate numbers so you would think they are coming from the local area. If you see an unknown number, the best you can do is to not pick up the phone!
You can always opt for blocking certain numbers on your phone. Both Android and iOS offer options for blocking numbers or silencing all unknown calls.
If you answer the call just to mess with the fraudsters, you can still end up being a victim. The advances in technology enable the scammers to:
- Record your voice
- Use it as an electronic signature
- Authorize fraudulent charges to personal accounts
Let unknown calls go straight to your voicemail.
Do Not Post Your Personal Information Online
Did you know that fraudsters use social platforms to steal personal information from their victims? Before you post anything on social media, think about who can access the info. If you share too much personal info on your public profile, you will be scraped by scammers.
Be thoughtful about sharing your info on these platforms and decline requests from people you don’t know. Your social media profile should never include your:
- Phone number
- Social security number
- Credit card number
Find Out the Scammers’ Identity With Robo Revenge
If the calls continue to harass you, you should know that we have a trick up our sleeve. DoNotPay has been helping lots of people sue companies in small claims court for a long time, and now, we want to make a contribution to the ongoing combat against robocallers. For that reason, we have brought into play our Robo Revenge option, which will help you get the revenge you deserve and report robocalls.
With Robo Revenge, you can now get back at these scammers, and the whole process can be finished in 48 hours. What you need to do is make a free virtual credit card, through which we can identify the scammers.
By using this card, you protect your sensitive information, and at the same time, give us the opportunity to catch the fraudsters in the act. DoNotPay will provide you with all info on the scammers so that you can file your claim against them. You can receive up to $3,000 in settlement cash.
Here’s how Robo Revenge option works:
- Log into your DoNotPay account via the web browser or an iOS device
- Click on Robo Revenge
- Request a virtual credit card
- Memorize or write down the card’s number
- Next time you receive a call, give the scammers your virtual credit card number
Once the fraudster tries to withdraw your money, Robo Revenge will access their names and location. Since the virtual credit card is not attached to your real credit card, your financial details and money are safe.
Scammers will most likely opt for an out-of-court settlement, which means you’ll receive lots of money in compensation!
DoNotPay Can Be the Change You Need!
DoNotPay is your assistant in the digital world. Using Robo Revenge is a priority in the battle against illegal calls. There are myriads of other issues we can assist you with, from fighting speeding tickets to dealing with credit card issues. This is what your virtual robot lawyer can do for you:
- Dispute traffic tickets
- Help you sue people and companies in small claims court
- Help you jump the phone queue when getting in touch with customer service reps
- Cancel subscriptions or memberships
- Fight speeding tickets
- Schedule a DMV appointment fast and easy
- Deal with issues with credit cards
- Deal with bills you are unable to pay
- Help you get refunds for delayed or canceled flights
- Get revenge on other robocalls
- Help you with contesting parking tickets