Unwanted calls – including illegal and spoofed robocalls - are the FCC's top consumer complaint and it comes as no surprise that everyone wants to know what can be done to protect ourselves from such occurrences. But not only to protect but also to prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
A lot of lawyers deal exactly in this field, as more and more consumers want to sue on the grounds of harassment. However, this is a two-way street, there are also complaints from consumers whose numbers are being spoofed or whose calls are being mistakenly blocked or labeled as a possible scam call by a robocall blocking app or service. So it is important to investigate what are the legal cures available and what we, as individuals can do to protect ourselves from such situations.
The law is on our side
It is important that we keep in mind that the FCC is committed to doing what we can to protect you from phone scams and robocalls, as well as from someone mislabeling your phone number. Here are just some of the ways they are dealing with this specific issue -
- Issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement actions against illegal robocallers.
- Empowering phone companies to block by default illegal or unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics before the calls reach consumers.
- Allowing consumer options on tools to block calls from any number that doesn't appear on a customer's contact list or other "white list."
- Requiring phone companies to implement caller ID authentication to help reduce illegal spoofing.
- Making consumer complaint data available to enable better call blocking and labeling solutions.
Now, we as consumers are very much allowed to take legal action against both robocallers and phone scammers. First thing’s first, we need to be smart and vigilant. So when we get a robocall the first step is reporting it, especially if you have not agreed to provide your phone number for such services. Second, who do you report it to, well, as it stands Both the FTC and the FCC, as well as individual states, have jurisdiction over robocalls and fraudulent calls; they can impose civil fines on those who break the law. In addition, in some instances, other federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), may prosecute robocall-related cases under criminal law.
Yes, under criminal law. That is what matters the most. So now you know that there is a legal cure for robocalls and you should not be hesitant to hire a lawyer if you have been harassed, or, even worse, cheated out of funds by robocalls and phone scammers.
Some essential ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones
Now, legal means of protection are efficient when the crime has been committed. But the best case is to avoid getting scammed altogether, as well as limiting the number of robocalls and telemarketer scams. The best option is the simplest- when you see an unknown number just hang up. Use a dependable reverse phone lookup and get the info on the number in just a few moments. That way you can decide if you need to call back, block, or report a caller.
And in case you don’t want calls even getting to you you can always register for the TCPA authorized National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. The registry lets consumers “opt-out” of receiving telemarketing calls on their landline and mobile phones, regardless of whether they are robocalls or not. Now, as of September 30, 2017, the registry had nearly 230 million active registrations.
It helps to know that both the state and the phone service providers are on your side when it comes to dealing with robocalls and phone scams. That makes taking legal action a lot easier and far more efficient. The important thing is that we take action whenever possible, whether it is just reporting such phone crimes or pursuing a court case against them.