What is a Delaware Robocall?
Delaware robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages to a large number of phone users in Delaware at any given time. Automatic dialing software helps to randomly place these calls and convey the intended messages to the called parties. Telemarketers and political organizations find robocalls useful in reaching out to a mass audience at an affordable cost. Governments, schools, and airlines also use robocalls to make emergency announcements. Robocalls are not only used for legitimate purposes, however. Phone scammers employ them to steal from Delaware residents. These robocalls are usually spoofed to trick residents into answering their phones and make such calls appear legitimate. You can differentiate a robocall from a live phone call using reverse phone lookup tools. The Delaware Attorney General’s Office and other consumer protection agencies are continually making efforts to clamp down on all deceptive telemarketing practices, including scam robocalls.
What are Delaware Robocall Scams?
Robocall scams are fraudulent practices committed using automated phone calls. Fraudsters often pretend to be with legitimate entities and place robocalls with deliberate attempts to extort Delaware residents. They fancy robocalls in their schemes because they are quite affordable and can reach a mass audience with minimal human input. The high levels of phone scam awareness by relevant agencies in the state informed the hesitation of residents in answering phone calls from unknown numbers. This is why fraudsters favor spoofed robocalls when preying on their targets. It gives them a high possibility of getting targeted residents to answer the calls and then rip them off.
Delawareans received almost 12 million robocalls in November 2020 alone, and about 38% of those calls originated from phone scammers. Also, in 2019, an estimated 190 million robocalls were placed in Delaware, almost half of which were scam calls. Phone lookup services can help you identify incoming robocalls and avoid scams.
How are Robocalls Used in Delaware Scams?
Robocall scammers usually buy a list of Delawareans’ phone numbers from disreputable brokers at ridiculous amounts and place spoofed robocalls to them. These fraudsters also use a computer program known as Automatic Dialing Announcing Device (ADAD) to make illegally spoofed robocalls to random numbers. They do this typically to identify active phone numbers for future scam pitches. Such robocalls usually instruct call recipients to push specific buttons to opt-out from future calls or speak with live agents. These are ploys to steal money or valuable assets and obtain sensitive information for financial and identity thefts.
Does Delaware Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Delaware currently does not have any legislation against robocalls. However, a couple of state laws forbid unfair business practices, especially concerning telephone solicitations. The Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Act prohibits telemarketers from placing calls to Delaware residents who have not authorized such calls. The provision of this Act partly binds on telemarketing robocalls since they are also a form of unsolicited calls.
The FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) is a federal law enacted to protect Americans, including Delawareans, from unwanted telemarketing calls. It instituted the National Do Not Call Registry, a list that notifies genuine telemarketers on phone numbers to avoid. Registering on the list implies that you do not want telephone solicitations. Delawareans can register their number on this list by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 from the numbers they want to put on the registry. The TSR also stipulates a period for legitimate telephone solicitations as the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Any unsolicited phone call that comes through residents’ phones outside these hours is a potential scam.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is another federal law that provides restrictions on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems used in placing robocalls. The TCPA prohibits every form of robocall unless the caller has the express consent of the call recipient. It also mandates telemarketing companies to keep an internal Do Not Call List, in addition to honoring the National Do Not Call Registry. The TCPA classifies unwanted text and fax messages in the same category as unwanted phone calls. Telephone solicitors are also prohibited from sending unwanted text and fax messages to numbers on the DNC Registry. Violating the TCPA provisions attract a cash fine of between $500 to $1,500 per violation.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in Delaware?
The TCPA only allows the use of robocalls in the following circumstances:
- Telemarketing companies must only place robocalls to residents that permits them to do so. Consent can be obtained via an email, written letter, online form, telephone button push, or a voice recording.
- Robocalls made by a live operator must state the identity, phone number, and address of the entity they represent. The callers must also state the reason for such calls before delivering a recorded message.
- Automated calls must give residents the option to opt-out of receiving future robocalls.
Some robocalls are, however, exempted from these requirements. Exempted entities need not obtain residents’ consent before placing robocalls to them. They include:
- Charitable organizations are permitted to place calls to Delaware residents to seek donations.
- Political campaign organizations can use robocalls to canvass residents’ votes.
- Emergency phone calls such as flight cancellation or school resumption are permitted.
- Healthcare providers for disseminating vital and urgent information.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Robocalls have become a nuisance, as evidenced in the number of robocalls received daily by Delawareans. These calls are inundating and can cost residents their fortunes if not checked. Your best options to reduce the number of unwanted calls coming through your phone include:
- Reject phone calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such telephone calls and then find out they are robocalls, hang up immediately. Do not press any number as may be instructed by the voice prompt. Such an instruction is to confirm that your line is active and can earn you more robocalls.
- Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the influx of unsolicited calls. Genuine telemarketers will stop calling you after 31 days of registration.
- Use the call-blocking features on your phone or tools provided by your phone company to block identified robocall numbers. You can also download and use third-party call-blocking applications such as Truecaller, Hiya, and Nomorobo to block robocall numbers. They can recognize incoming robocalls and notify you to ignore such calls. You can then bar such numbers from subsequently calling you. Report any robocall abuse by filing complaints online with the FCC and FTC. Alternatively, you can call 1 (888) 225-5322 and 1 (888) 382-1222 to reach the FCC and FTC, respectively.