Be the terminator when dealing with robocalls; don’t answer – don’t push numbers, hang up

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Anne Olden knows well enough what a robocall is.

“At least three times a week we’re getting a robocall saying the American Heart Association and the diabetes association are endorsing this, allegedly free, medical alert device,” she says.

Courtesy FTC

Courtesy FTC

Robocall, a term for an automated phone call that uses both a computerized autodialer and a computer-delivered pre-recorded message, is used to find someone – a person.  If the call hits a number that has an answering machine, it may leave a pre-recorded message and callback number. If there is no answer, it moves to the next phone number.

“Today, I pressed ‘1’ for more info but didn’t get the business name because the woman spoke so quickly,” she says.

Responding to telemarketing calls oftentimes do no good. It only tells the company that a “living person” has answered the phone. As such, the telemarketer is able to persuade you to buy a product, service or survey.

Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the majority of calls that deliver a recorded message trying to sell you something are illegal, unless you’ve given written permission for the caller to call you.

Olden says, “I lost my cool and asked her to stop talking. Then, she asked if I wanted to be removed from the list, which she agreed to do. We’ll see.”

Sales “robocalls” are illegal even if your phone number is not registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Bottom line: Do not respond to these phone calls. If the phone call is from someone you don’t know, hang up.


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