What is a Robocall?
Robocalls are automated calls with pre-recorded messages mostly used in telemarketing. People often conflict robocalls with spam calls. However, spam calls are unwanted calls that the recipients find very inappropriate, as these calls involve spam callers trying to steal information or valuables from the recipients over the phone.
According to robocall statistics, in May 2020, phone users in America received around 3 billion robocalls, with 4.5 million of them in South Dakota. The reason robocall is this widely used is because of its origin in telemarketing. Telemarketers initially used robocalls legally to sell goods and services over the phone. A massive 42% of the calls used in phone scams, and only about 22% were for telemarketing purposes.
What are South Dakota Robocall Scams?
Organizations use robocalls to communicate necessary and relevant information to their customers. Also, provided they identify themselves and their purpose of calling, the law allows market researchers and legal charities to use robocalls as well. However, the use of robocalls to commit scams and fraudulent acts has also been on the rise. About 6.9 million robocalls were placed in South Dakota between January and October 2020, of which 44% of them were scam calls.
South Dakota robocall scammers use illegal calls with messages pre-recorded with an artificial voice. The callers disguise as genuine government agencies or private and charity organizations. Scammers use these robocalls to steal personal information, financial details, and money from the call receiver. To increase the chances of victims picking up, scammers often use caller ID spoofing to falsify their name, location, and number.
Does South Dakota Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Like spam calls, robocalls can be annoying and quite intrusive to the recipients. With lots of complaints each month, sometimes running into thousands, the state of South Dakota initiated some anti-robocall laws. These laws protect telecommunications customers and create guidelines for telemarketers to follow. The South Dakota Code section 37-30-17: Knowing Misrepresentations and False, Misleading, or Unauthorized Solicitation Practices is one of such laws. It prohibits:
- Purposely misrepresenting the purpose or nature of a charitable organization.
- Using the services of an unregistered paid solicitor.
- Purposely misrepresenting the purpose or beneficiary of a solicitation.
- Purposely misrepresenting that any person sponsors or endorses a solicitation.
- Impersonating charities in any form.
- Leading prospects to register on platforms with the mindset that such platforms are government-approved.
- Making deceptive or false claims in marketing documents or during telemarketing calls.
- Charities organizations using names that resemble the names of renowned charities.
Another set of statutes labeled as Telemarketing - Unreasonable Solicitor Practices is stated in South Dakota Code section 37-30A-3 and prohibits:
- Engaging in conducts that intimidate, torment, or harass any person in connection with a telephone call.
- Placing unsolicited consumer telephone calls to any residence before 9 am, after 9 pm, or Sundays.
- Employing deceptive or unfair telephone solicitation.
In addition to these laws and statutes, there is also a penalty attached for telemarketers who break them. A willful violation is considered a deceptive and unfair trade practice. People who deliberately violate the law, intending to scam or defraud others, are guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Telemarketers may also be charged to court and fined if they engage in illegal robocalls and other illicit telemarketing acts.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, the law requires telemarketers to follow special requirements before and during a robocall. According to the South Dakota Code section 37-30A-2, the law requires telemarketers to make the following disclosures when they make an unsolicited phone call to their consumer:
- Identify themselves while stating their real name, the telemarketer they are employed by, the actual name and address of the business they are soliciting for, and the phone call’s purpose.
- Within thirty seconds of the call, ask the customer if they are interested in listening to a sales presentation. If they give a negative reply, the telemarketer must terminate the call immediately.
- If the customer shows displeasure or lack of interest in the services or goods marketed at any time during the conversation, telemarketers must hang up the phone at once.
These requirements may prove vital in the fight against robocall scams if adhered strictly by all telemarketers in South Dakota. A major reason is that it will help customers recognize illegal and fraudulent robocalls quicker.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
With YouMail Robo Index reporting an astronomical 38 billion robocalls placed so far nationwide, the need to limit these annoying calls is rising. Here are some tips to help stop robocalls and ultimately prevent robocall scams.
- Do not answer calls from unknown numbers or companies. Although scammers may sometimes mask their caller ID, if you are unsure of a number, hang up and look it up. Go to the company, government agency, or charity’s website and call the contact there if you are interested in the conversation.
- Contact your phone company or telemarketer about putting your number on the Do Not Call list. According to federal law, if there are any more robocalls after being placed on the list, recipients can sue the company for $500.
- Avoid dropping contact details at online forums and websites with unverified genuineness.
- Do not engage with the robocalls. When prompted to press a number to be “taken off the call list,” hang up immediately. Sometimes these scam robocalls also require their targets to press a number to confirm someone is at the other end. Taking such action may encourage them to engage their target further. Recipients should hang up once they sense that the call is irrelevant and unsolicited.
- Add all business and residential numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry. Although this may not totally remove robocalls, it makes it easier to spot a robocall scam.
- For a more strict measure, phone users might consider blocking all numbers, not only on their phonebook; they could also download and install free call blocking and identification applications like Truecaller from their mobile applications online store. Mobile phone users may also check their phones for built-in call blocking features.
- When signing up for something online or filling any form that requires your phone number, ensure you read through the terms and conditions. Agreeing to it without thoroughly reading through might be permitting the organization to call you. Skipping such documents may compromise your privacy as well. They could be agreeing to the company sharing their contacts with third parties.
- Government agencies like the IRS will not demand immediate payments over the phone. They will also not ask to receive payments via wire transfers, cash, cryptocurrency, and gift cards. Only scammers will demand such payment mode, which should be considered an instant red flag.