What is a New York Robocall?
A robocall is an automated phone call that delivers a prerecorded message to a mass audience. It uses an autodialer to contact a random or prepared list of phone users. Robocalls have many legitimate uses in New York State. Political groups use robocalls for campaigns in times of elections. It is an advertising tool for reaching out to voters. Telemarketers also use them to contact potential customers.
Robocalls are especially useful to the New York government for emergency announcements. However, some robocalls are used to sell fake products and services without the recipients' permission. These are spam calls targeted at ripping off residents. The New York State Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection regulates robocalls in New York State.
What are New York Robocall Scams?
New York robocall scams are fraudulent activities perpetrated against residents using robocalls. Robocalls are unsolicited calls and are usually disturbing. Phone scammers use robocalls because they are cheap, wide-reaching, and require minimal effort. They also make users appear anonymous, which is why cracking down on robocall scammers is challenging. A phone lookup service can help determine if an incoming call is a robocall.
New York had the fourth-highest number of robocall complaints in 2018 in the nation with about 348,651 filed reports. In 2019, New Yorkers received over 3.4 billion unsolicited calls. As of September 2020, an estimated 1.9 billion robocalls had been placed to New York residents, representing an average of about 73 calls per resident.
How are Robocalls Used in New York Scams?
Some dubious brokers sell phone numbers to scammers, enabling them to target New Yorkers for robocall scams. These fraudsters often spoof Caller IDs and pretend to represent familiar organizations when deploying spam calls. They use robocalls to deliver sales pitches in a bid to defraud residents. Some robocalls even deliver messages purportedly from government agencies asking recipients to press certain numbers to speak with live agents. The fraudsters on the other end of the phone call may then request personal and financial information for supposed verifications. At other times, they ask their targets to pay certain fines to avoid arrests or going to jail.
These scammers favor unusual payment channels such as wire transfers, gift cards, cash, and cryptocurrencies. Scammers also use robocalls to fish for active phone numbers. Applications that provide reverse phone lookup services can identify robocalls and help New York residents avoid falling victim to robocall scams.
Does New York Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
New York State has anti-robocall laws. Robocall legislation became necessary in the state due to the proliferation of unwanted calls. Robocalls are not only annoying; they are intrusive and often used to defraud naive New Yorkers. The anti-robocall laws in the State of New York are explained below.
New York Do Not Call Registry Law
The New York Do Not Call Registry law allows residents to enroll their phone numbers on a national registry. Enlisting their numbers reduces the frequency of unsolicited telemarketing calls and reduces the chances of falling victim to robocall scams. The regulations in this law became effective on April 1, 2001. Whoever makes a telemarketing call to a phone number on the DNC Registry can be held liable for such an act.
New York Nuisance Call Act
The DNC Registry had some shortcomings which the Nuisance Call Act sought to address. Sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky in 2019 as Senate Bill S4777 in March 2019, the Act requires telemarketers to obtain consumers' written consents before sharing their contact information. It provides New Yorkers with increased protection and curbs the nuisance posed by unsolicited calls. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 02, 2019.
The Robocall Prevention Act has been passed and has advanced to third reading at the New York State Senate by January 27, 2020. The legislation designated Senate Bill S3297A was sponsored by Senator Brad Holyman on February 05, 2019. It seeks to stop the menace of robocalls in New York and make it illegal for any person to place robocalls without the consumers’ prior written permission. It also aims to protect New Yorkers by requiring Telephone Service Providers (TSPs) to offer free call mitigation technology. This will significantly lessen the possibility of illegal robocalls originating from TSPs. If enacted, this Act will become the strongest state-level anti-robocall law in the United States.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in New York?
There are special provisions for legitimate robocalls in New York State. Any unsolicited telemarketing call that does not comply with these requirements is illegal and a potential phone scam. A reverse phone number search can help verify if an incoming call from an unknown phone number is a robocall. Legitimate robocalls in New York must fulfill the following requirements:
- There must be express written permission from the recipients before placing robocalls to them. Consent may also be in the form of ongoing business relationships.
- Robocalls coming through phone numbers registered on the DNC Registry after 31 days of enrollment are deemed illegal.
- Legitimate robocalls are allowed to occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. New York local time. Any robocall outside these hours flouts the law unless the recipient has given prior consent to be reached at any time.
- A legitimate telemarketing sales call must provide, in clear terms, the name of the telemarketing firm, the purpose of calling, and the product or service for sale.
However, some types of robocalls do not require residents' permission. These calls are not illegal and may reach out to residents anytime. They include:
- Calls from charitable organizations.
- Calls intended to disseminate urgent information such as canceled flights or school resumption.
- Messages from political organizations.
- Calls from health care providers.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Residents of New York State receive a lot of robocalls and robocall scams are increasingly becoming sophisticated. Many residents have lost trust in telephone communications because of the havoc being wrecked by this menace. Robocalls invade privacy and expose New Yorkers to extortion by phone scammers. Phone number search can help you identify robocalls and avoid scams. New York residents can take the following steps to stop being plagued by robocalls:
- Avoid taking calls from unknown phone numbers. The caller will leave a message if urgent. However, if you answer a call and hear an automated voice, hang up immediately. Attempting to listen further may lead you to get scammed. Some robocalls will ask you to press a particular number to opt-out of receiving such calls. That is a trick to confirm that your number is live, and acting on such instructions will earn you future engagements with phone scammers.
- Block robocall numbers using third-party call-blocking applications such as Hiya, Nomorobo, and Truecaller. These applications recognize robocalls and screen them as they come through your phone and are available on mobile phone online stores.
- Report robocall numbers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or call 1 (888) 382-1222. You can file complaints of spoofed robocalls online with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). New York residents can also report robocall numbers or scams to their local law enforcement agencies.
Add your phone number to the DNC Registry managed by the FTC. Registration is free and can be done by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 from the number you intend to register or online. Adding your phone number to this list exempts you from receiving legitimate telemarketing calls. If you get a robocall after 31 days of registration, it is probably a scam call.