According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, starting September 1st the Federal Trade Commission will ban telemarketer "robocalls" made to consumers without their express written permission.
The article said:
"FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said American consumers have made it "crystal clear that few things annoy them more than the billions of commercial telemarketing robocalls they receive every year." Violaters will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call."
It's about time! Many of those "robocalls" aren't just obnoxious; they're designed to illegally separate consumers from their money. Many foreclosure scammers and credit card scammers use
"robocalls" to access consumers' personal and sensitive information such as credit card numbers or even social security numbers.
In one such scam, a company claims to represent the credit card company and requests the consumer's credit card number. In the foreclosure scams, the scammers attempt to give the consumer the impression that they can help them prevent or avoid foreclosure. Usually their foreclosure prevention "service" requires a large upfront payment. Consumers who are facing foreclosure or who are delinquent on their credit cards are particularly vulnerable to "robocalls" and their demands for attention and money. Because they feel anxious about their situation, many consumers may believe the scammers' claims and give out their private information or payout money they can't afford to part with. The FTC has made a great decision to terminate these unwanted calls.
However, consumers should be aware that there are some "robocalls" that won't be banned:
- charities that contact consumers directly
- phone companies
- survey calls
- certain health care messages such as prescription notifications
If you receive prohibited "robocalls" after September 1, 2009, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.