Whether it's a helpful announcement from your child's school or an appointment reminder from a doctor's office, getting robocalls has become an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, robocalls are also used by criminals to collect consumers' personal and financial information and/or conduct various scams.
The good news is that consumers have won additional protections against unwanted robocalls under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. One of the main goals of the law is to make it easier for consumers to avoid unwanted robocalls by:
- Requiring all carriers to implement caller-ID technology at no additional cost to consumers
- Making it easier for law enforcement to prosecute illegal robocallers and increasing penalties for robocall violations
- Creating an interagency task force to study and improve government prosecution of robocall violations
Even when these new protections are implemented, it will take some time to eliminate unwanted robocalls. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Don't answer calls when you don't recognize the phone number.
- If you pick up an unwanted robocall, hang up right away and avoid answering "yes" or "no" questions, providing personal information, or pressing a number to "opt out."
- Consider signing up for a robocall blocking service. Many phone service providers now offer robocall blocking solutions at no additional charge, or you can download additional robocall protection through a third-party app.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, which removes your number from the call lists used by legitimate telemarketing companies. Keep in mind that registering with the DNC Registry will result in your getting fewer calls from legitimate telemarketers, but it won't stop illegal robocallers from contacting you.