With Even Detectives Getting Scam Calls, Expect Consumer Protection Law to Tighten

by: The Knowledge Group

November 20, 2017


High-volume calling technology now allows scammers to target potential victims en masse.

No one is immune. Billions of illegal robocalls are made monthly, many from “spoof” numbers that appear on caller ID as though they’re coming from within the neighborhood. They might claim to be from a loan company, or the government. Canadians, too, are targets of robotext messages pretending to come from a bank, agency—even the phone company. The issue is widespread, and worldwide.

The Federal Communications Commission recently acted to enable phone companies to obstruct “spoof” numbers from use.

Meanwhile, just this month in Tennessee, detectives answered their phones and got IRS robocalls, demanding that they pay supposed debts immediately under threat of arrest. The scammers wanted more than $5,000, and offered a payment plan. Debt repayment calls are designed to intimidate, and some people will be sucked in to identity theft and money scams.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

The TCPA sets out to protect consumers from unwanted contact, mainly by having telemarketers get customers’ written consent to a company’s calls. An existing business-to-customer relationship does not comprise permission to send robocalls or robotexts.

Nor can consent to these messages be a condition of a purchase or any business transaction.

Moreover, a customer can cancel permission by any reasonable means.

Except for certain emergency robocalls and health alerts, even political and informational calls need the recipient’s permission if made to a wireless phone.

And marketers may not dial a wrong number more than once. Resources are available to show when people’s numbers change. Also available are phone-blocking technologies that companies can make available. The FCC urges companies to share information about robocall-blocking with their customers.

Modernize Your Compliance Policies and Practice

The TCPA not only sets forth fines for abusive practices. It also sheds light on how to differentiate legitimate commerce from illicit misuse of our ever-evolving phone call and message technology. If you’re working at a company, for a political campaign, or in an educational nonprofit, know the law and evolving policy.

Join us for an upcoming webcast on TCPA Compliance on November 28, 2017, at 12-2pm (ET). Registration for 2 credit hours is $99. We’ll discuss recent court and legislative updates, and how the TCPA interacts with modern cell phone technology.

Speakers will equip the audience with best practices, and ways to avert risk.