What Is a North Carolina Robocall?
A robocall is an automated phone call placed by an autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message. Robocalls are mostly associated with telemarketers and political groups. However, they are also used in phone scams. Some robocalls are spam calls that attempt to sell fake products and services. The primary intention of these calls is to extort money from phone users.
North Carolina robocalls are unsolicited telephone calls, and their use is regulated by the North Carolina Department of Justice (DOJ).
What Are North Carolina Robocall Scams?
In North Carolina, robocall scams are fraudulent activities that involve scammers defrauding and stealing money from residents in the state. Phone scammers use robocalls because robocalls can target many people with minimal human effort and a relatively cheap cost. Reverse phone number search can help differentiate a robocall from a live call. In August 2019, Attorney General Josh Stein led an initiative in conjunction with every Attorney General in the country and 12 major phone companies to implement the Anti-Robocall Principles to fight illegal robocalls.
How Are Robocalls Used in North Carolina Scams?
Phone scammers often mask their identities by displaying fake caller ID information when employing robocalls. This is also known as caller ID spoofing. These fraudsters take up government agencies or familiar organizations' caller IDs and pretend to be their employees. The calls are automated and instruct recipients to press certain keys to speak with live agents or reel out phone numbers to call back. A robocall scam may also be an automated voice trying to sell you something over the phone. It is usually illegal, except when a company has your written permission to call you that way. North Carolina robocall scams are employed to steal money and information from its residents. A reverse phone lookup application can help you identify robocalls and avoid phone scams. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also provides information on caller ID spoofing and how to avoid them.
Does North Carolina Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
North Carolina does not have any specific laws on robocalls. However, the state legislature implemented a Truth in Caller ID Act that prohibits the use of misleading telephone identification methods for telephone solicitation by voice or text. The act also requires callers to use the real name and number of the business they are representing. The act became effective on December 1st, 2019. North Carolina Consumer Protection Act also restricts telemarketers from sending robocalls to persons whose numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry.
In addition, under the NC Statute-Chapter 75, Article 4, any telephone solicitor who makes unsolicited calls to mobile, residential, or paging devices must introduce themselves as soon as the recipient answers the call. The callers must state their actual first and last name and the name of the telemarketing firm. Telemarketers are also not allowed to make automated calls that connect consumers to pre-recorded messages. A number of Anti-Robocall Principles also exist in North Carolina. These principles are the result of an agreement between State Attorney Generals and some telephone service providers. The engagement sought to stop illegal and unwanted robocalls. North Carolina Attorney General, Josh Stein, led a bipartisan group of 51 Attorney Generals and 12 phone companies to create the principles. Phone service providers committed to incorporate the following eight anti-robocall principles into their business practices:
- Offer free call blocking and labeling services to subscribers
- Implement STIR/SHAKEN
- Analyze and monitor network traffic
- Investigate suspicious calls and calling patterns
- Confirm the identities of commercial customers
- Require traceback cooperation in contracts
- Cooperate in traceback investigations
- Communicate with State Attorneys General
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in New Carolina?
North Carolina has special requirements for robocalls, which are regulated by the North Carolina Department of Justice. Telemarketers and other legitimate agencies must comply with these requirements, as non-compliance is considered illegal and a potential scam call. Residents can use a reverse phone number search to determine if an unknown call is a robocall. All robocalls in North Carolina must fulfill the following requirements:
- Telemarketers must state their names and company name through the caller ID service instead of disguising themselves so that the recipient will know who is calling.
- Only licensed telemarketers and entities are permitted to place robocalls, but these calls must be between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m in North Carolina time. Robocalls that occur outside these hours are deemed illegal unless the recipient gives prior consent to be contacted at any time.
- The caller must have obtained express written consent (written or electronic signatures) from the call recipient before placing robocalls to them.
- Contacting a number that is on the National Do Not Call Registry is illegal and is considered a violation.
- The caller must clearly state the purpose of the call, the name of the business on whose behalf they are calling, and the product or service for sale.
- Telemarketers must stop calling Registered numbers after 30 days of registration with the National Do Not Call Registry.
In spite of the restriction placed on robocalls, some robocalls are exempted from some of these requirements. The callers may be permitted to make these calls to residents even without their permission. This includes:
- Robocalls for public service announcements.
- Calls from political campaigns and charitable organizations, health care providers fall in this category.
- Calls by secondary schools to locate or account for truant students.
- Calls by organizations to their members.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
While Robocalls are not always synonymous with scams, they are, however, annoying and equally unwanted. Scammers have devised several means to use Robocalls for illegitimate purposes. It is, therefore, essential that residents of North Carolina take some measures to curb robocalls. Residents may use the reverse phone number lookup to identify robocalls and avoid becoming falling victims of robocall scams.
Take the following steps to stop robocalls from fraudulent telemarketers:
- Register the affected number on the National Do Not Call Registry managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call 1 (888) 382-1222 in order to stop robocalls. Interested persons may register at no cost, and the registered number will be on the registry until the owner of the number requests that it be removed. Note that it takes 31 days for a registered number to be updated. Numbers registered on the National Registry are covered by the North Carolina law.
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers or hang up as soon as you realize that the call is delivering a pre-recorded message or the caller requests for sensitive information.
- File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Federal Trade Commission to report any suspicious or non-compliant robocalls online. Interested persons may also call the FTC on 1 (888) 382-1222 or the FCC on 1 (888) 225-5322. Persons may also file a complaint on the North Carolina Department of Justice website
- Stop robocalls by using in-built call-blocking features or mobile applications on your cell phone. Both android phones and iPhones have in-built call-blocking features. On the other hand, many third-party mobile applications provide call-blocking services at no cost. Examples of these third-party mobile applications include Hiya, Nomorobo, Truecaller, and YouMail.