How TCT Will Protect Against Robocalls
What is a Robocall?
If you receive a phone call that delivers a pre-recorded message and not a live person, that is a robocall.
Are Robocalls Illegal?
No, a few types of robocalls are allowed under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules without your permission, like political calls about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless that company got written permission, directly from you, to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. Even if you previously gave permission, you still have the right to change your mind later.
If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are those calls are illegal. Many robocalls are also probably scams.
Are Robocalls Really That Bad?
It’s cheap and easy for bad actors, scam artists, and telemarketers to make robocalls over the internet from anywhere in the world. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports 4 billion robocalls were made per month in 2020.
What Types of Robocalls Are There?
A legitimate robocall presents no harm to subscribers; some of these robocalls may even be useful. Examples include political calls about candidates running for office, charities asking for donations, public service announcements, appointment confirmations, and prescription refills.
A nuisance robocall is not indicative of malicious intent, nor illegal activity, but might be a call that you don’t want to answer all the time. Examples include promotional offers, solicitation, and accounts receivable.
A high-risk robocall often includes malicious activities that lead to loss of money, invasion of privacy, identity theft, and other illegal activities. These robocalls are designed to attempt to gain the called party’s trust in order to prey upon them. Examples include spam calls, spoof calls, and scam calls.
What Are the Call Categories?
|Call Category||Category Description
|Regular Calls||The observed calling behavior falls within the normal behavioral baseline of manually dialed calls - with no abusive, fraudulent or unlawful calling behavior reported.
|Telemarketers||Any person or entity placing calls to sell services or goods with no abusive, fraudulent, or unlawful calling behavior reported.
|Robocalls||Robocalls are calls made with an auto dialer or that contain a message made with a prerecorded or artificial voice. Offenders are normally straightforwardly identified as reputable entities and most commonly place calls with meaningful disclosure of identity.
|Spam Calls||Any person or entity placing automated telephone calls, telemarketing and informational, in a manner that might not comply with state and federal laws governing use of auto-dialers.
|Spoofed Calls||Any person knowingly and willfully causing transmission of misleading or inaccurate Caller ID info for which there is suspicious behavior but no confirmed report or calling behavior indicative of malicious intent, which otherwise would be categorized as potential fraud. Spoof callers often use various methods to mask their telephone number to show a completely different number, often a number that may be local or familiar to you.
|Scam Calls/Potential Fraud Calls||Any person that appears to be in reckless disregard of state and federal laws governing the use of auto-dialers, or a person using an auto-dialer in the commission of a crime of identity theft or fraud. Typically, deceptive caller ID practices are employed to avoid detection or deceitfully gain caller’s trust.|
What Kinds of Robocalls Are Allowed?
Under FTC rules, some robocalls don’t require your permission, but are allowed only under strict guidelines.
Messages that are purely informational. Robocalls about your flight being canceled, reminding you about an appointment, or letting you know about a delayed school opening fall into this category, as long as the caller doesn’t also try to sell you something.
Debt collection calls. A business contacting you to collect a debt can use robocalls to reach you. But robocalls that try to sell you services to lower your debt are illegal and are almost certainly scams.
Political calls. An authorized representative calling about political candidates running for office.
Calls from some health care providers. This includes a robocall from a pharmacy reminding you to refill a prescription.
Messages from charities. Charities can make these calls to you themselves. But if a charity hires someone to make robocalls on its behalf, unless you are a prior donor or member of the charity, the robocall is illegal. They also must include an automated option to let you stop future calls.
TCT Responsibility to the Customer
Federal laws; like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Federal Communication Commission Rule; restrict unwanted calls. TCT is dedicated to upholding these laws and doing all we can to protect our customers.
On December 30, 2019, the TRACED Act was signed into law. The law pushes telephone companies to implement the STIR/SHAKEN system, which is an industry-developed standard designed to prevent scammers from making calls that have inaccurate caller-ID information. Under the STIR/SHAKEN framework, calls from numbers that seem suspicious show up on phones with warning messages. This law makes it easier for our customers to identify robocalls so that they can avoid answering them.
TCT uses the STIR/SHAKEN technology to update our spam detection algorithm. STIR/SHAKEN is a caller ID authentication framework to help protect you against malicious caller ID information which is often used during robocall scam campaigns to trick consumers into answering their phones.
TCT provides the Advice of Risk feature to all regular telephone subscribers, at no additional cost. You will need to subscribe to Caller ID to take advantage of this new protection feature and benefit from the warning messages that identify these nuisance and risky calls. These warning messages will overlay the Caller ID info, so that you are alerted that caller may not be who they say they are or that they are known risky callers.
TCT provides the Basic Call Block feature to all regular telephone subscribers, at no additional cost. You will not be required to subscribe to any other feature to reap the benefits of Basic Call Block. Calls marked as fraudulent will be blocked from reaching your phone automatically, so you won’t have to deal with them or block them yourself. These calls have the potential to invade your privacy through identity theft, money scams, and other forms of fraud. We automatically block these calls in the network and your phone will not ring.
TCT avidly supports all legislation which gives the FCC and enforcement agencies greater authority to go after scammers. Additionally, TCT heartily embraces the Truth in Caller ID Act which allows the government to charge robocallers with illegal “spoofing” once they prove the caller intended to defraud, cause harm, or illegally obtain something of value.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
Read the consumer tips from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop unwanted robocalls.
Register your phone numbers on the Do Not Call List. Although this FTC registry will not spare you from calls from scammers intent on breaking the law, it should prevent you from receiving “live” telemarketing calls, which are regulated by the federal government but are not illegal.
Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize, legitimate callers will leave a voice mail.
Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, could be a one-ring scam. One-ring scams want you to call back the number and then you will incur charges.
Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.
If you think you have been compromised, contact your local law enforcement.
Be diligent and don’t give out personal information over the phone.
How to Report Being Improperly Blocked or Mislabeled?
If you are a residential customer and feel that your telephone number is being blocked in error, please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-354-2911.
If you are a business customer and feel that your telephone number is being blocked or mislabeled, please visit the TNS Call Guardian website to report your business calls as legitimate with that authority for assistance.
How Do I Report a Malicious Robocall?
If you want to report a spam call, spoofed call, or a scam call; please visit the TNS Call Guardian website to report the issue to that authority for assistance.
How to Opt-Out of the Robocall Protection?
You are free to opt out of either of these new protection features, Advice of Risk and Basic Call Block. If you would like to opt out of one or both of these free service features, please contact our Customer Service at 1-800-354-2911.