Hearing your phone ring in today’s environment might be disconcerting for some people. Many of you have come to expect some form of notification — usually a text message — to see if a phone call will be accepted. And if you think you’ve been getting trapped in receiving too many robocalls recently, you’re not alone. Globally, the number of robocalls keeps increasing, and according to experts, robocalls are getting smarter and more sophisticated over time.
It’s been reported that, in 2021, Americans got 50.5 billion robocalls, a 14 percent decrease from the peak year of 2019, when they received over 58 billion robocalls, but a 10% increase over 2020 with 45.9 billion robocalls. And more seriously, the scam calling of these robocalls reaches 21.4 billion, which accounts for 42% of the 2021 robocalls. Other categories are listed below:
|Types of Robocall||Estimated 2021 Robocalls||Percentage 2021 Robocalls|
|Alerts and Reminders||13.1 billion||26%|
|Payment Reminders||7.4 billion||15%|
Therefore, to better understand and effectively prevent unwanted robocalls or robocall scams, you’d better continue to read the following important messages.
What is a Robocall?
To put it simply, a robocall is an automated phone call that is using random, computerized autodials of phone numbers to deliver a pre-recorded message.
These robocalls are commonly used by pollsters for political campaigns, telemarketers, government entities sending public service announcements, and others. Regardless of the situation, the majority of individuals nowadays regard these calls to be completely irritating.
Every month, billions of robocalls are made around the world, and they are commonly considered a nuisance. Telemarketers and scammers can make robocalls via the internet with very little money, which is why they are so common.
Is Robocall Legal?
To be honest, not all robocalls are irritating or annoying. Some businesses and government agencies utilize robocalls to provide important information. An automated recording, for example, may be used by the pharmacy to remind patients to refill a prescription, or by the airline to notify flight delays. These informational messages, healthcare provider calls, and maybe the debt collection calls are considered legitimate. Nevertheless, customers aren’t able to receive them until they are accepted with customers successfully registered on official websites.
Then here come the illegal robocalls. The FTC website says this about robocall legality:
“A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.”
However, there is also a certain exception. In addition to the above informational messages, the healthcare provider calls, and debt collection calls, some political campaigns, and charities, for example, are not required by law to obtain your consent to contact you while they ask for donations. Due to these special situations and also the low cost of robocalls, scammers all around the world use them to swindle Americans every year for billions of dollars.
What Are Robocall Scams?
Robocall scams are rampant in today’s world. Based on the above statistics, about 42% of the robocalls are scams in the United States in 2021. So how do the robocall scams happen? In fact, if someone is already breaching the law by robocalling you without your permission, there’s a significant possibility that it’s a robocall scam.
More severely, when regulators or law enforcement shut down one means of making robocalls, scammers change tactics and adopt a different approach, much like a game of whack-a-mole. That’s what’s occurring now, according to experts, as robocallers give up using falsified phone numbers that appear to be from a neighbor. They’re now purchasing lists of real phone numbers in order to fool spam-blocking software into allowing the calls through. The issue is that purchasing phone number lists from third-party data suppliers is lawful, making it difficult for law enforcement to determine who is purchasing these lists and utilizing them for illegal reasons.
What Is FCC?
The Federal Communication Commission is the federal agency in charge of all aspects of telecommunications, including robocalls. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claims that robocalls are the most common consumer complaint, which is why finding a solution has risen to the top of their priority list. However, regulating these calls is challenging because they are of different types and difficult to trace, and the tactics used, as well as technology, are always changing.
What Are the Rules for Robocalls?
Before making a prerecorded telemarketing call to your home or wireless phone number, the FCC requires a caller to seek your written agreement — on paper or through technological means, such as website forms or a telephone keypress. A caller must also acquire your authorization, either verbally or in writing, before making an auto-dialed or prerecorded call or text to your wireless number, according to FCC rules. There are several exceptions to these guidelines, such as in life-threatening situations.
Are There Any Tools or Laws to Protect Consumers from Robocalls?
With the current number of robocalls, it’s difficult to believe that there could be many more. We are not saying that it can’t get any better, but we are thinking about some tools or laws to protect us from unwanted robocalls and robocall scams as well. The following are some useful technology and laws keeping a rein on robocalls.
The STIR/SHAKEN Technology
STIR/SHAKEN is a set of technological protocols and methods for verifying the information displayed on your Caller ID with the purpose of reducing the number of fraudulent robocalls, lowering the risk of identity theft and other VoIP security issues when you receive an incoming call over an IP network.
STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) is a series of technological protocols developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force to aid in the verification and authentication of the calling party’s identity, assuring that the person or company calling you is the person or company you’re speaking with. It is mostly concerned with end-user devices.
SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) is a set of guidelines for service providers to follow when it comes to managing STIR-authenticated calls in their networks. It is primarily concerned with the actual deployment and implementation of STIR across carrier networks and service providers.
In addition, network carriers must label each call with a specific attestation level to comply with STIR/SHAKEN. After carriers have verified the call source and phone number, these three levels of trust are identified:
Full Attestation (A)
Full Attestation with the highest level of trust means that the carrier has authenticated the caller and verified the caller’s right to use the number. By the way, the calls with A must originate on the carrier’s own network.
Example: A call from a residential voice subscriber hosted on an in-network soft switch or IMS Application Server
Partial Attestation (B)
Partial Attestation means that the carrier has directly authenticated the caller but not verified the caller’s right to use the number.
Example: A call from an enterprise customer PBX subscriber (DID) because the organization employs DIDs from several carriers and DIDs are not screened for originating calls.
Gateway Attestation (C)
Gateway Attestation means that the carrier has authenticated where it received a call but not authenticated the call source.
Example: A terminating call entering the network on TDM trunks on a TDM-IP gateway.
The TCPA Law
Since 1991, the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) has been enacted by Congress for the primary purpose of restricting the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages. It assists consumers in challenging and, as a result, reducing aggressive phone solicitation practices. It covers telemarketing, text messaging, and pre-recorded calls, as previously stated. It also mandates that telemarketers obtain “prior express consent” from customers before contacting them.
The TRACED Act
In fact, the TCPA is the legislative precursor to the TRACED Act, which stands for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act.
On December 30, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act into law. It offers the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and law enforcement more power to pursue phone call scammers, and it should make it easier for citizens to recognize and avoid robocalls.
Moreover, telecommunications service providers such as Verizon, T-Mobile/Sprint, and AT&T are required by the TRACED Act to deploy a number-authentication system at no cost to consumers to assist network subscribers in identifying callers. It also toughens up on robocallers who continue to solicit residents over the phone.
What is RealCall?
If you’re wondering why, despite the TCPA regulations and TRACED Act, you’re still receiving robocalls. The reason is that they mostly control businesses that abide by the law, which means those scam robocallers who don’t even pretend to follow the law aren’t covered by the law. Then how to deal with this kind of call?
RealCall is a third-party app that provides spam call blocking and caller ID for global users. Empowered by the vast and ever-evolving database and AI-based modeling, RealCall features top-notch accuracy of blocking.
- Nowadays, most people feel sick and tired of so many robocalls, which use random, computerized autodials of phone numbers to deliver a pre-recorded message.
- Robocall scams are rampant in today’s world, which mainly aims to steal your information and money.
- Despite the huge number of robocalls every year, there are still some tools and laws to protect you from robocalls to a certain degree, such as the STIR/SHAKEN technology, the TCPA Law, the TRACED Act and the RealCall app as well.