A robocall is an automated phone call that delivers a prerecorded message to a target group, typically on behalf of a political party or telemarketing company. It uses a computerized auto-dialer to contact any phone number the sender includes in a prepared target list.
Robocalls are used for legitimate purposes, such as appropriate advertising and sales marketing. However, these calls are often used by con artists to defraud people. Robocall and telemarketing laws are enforced by the Arizona Attorney General (AAG) and local district attorneys. Telemarketing and phone scams are the most common complaint to AAG's office.
Some robocalls do not require the receiver’s consent under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules in the United States. Some of these instances include:
- Purely informational messages: Not all robocalls try to sell something. Robocalls that inform you of your flight cancellation, an upcoming appointment, or a rescheduled school event fall into this category.
- Debt collection calls: A business may contact debtors using robocalls. However, such calls are prohibited if they try to sell you services to reduce your debt.
- Political calls: In Arizona, robocalls are allowed during elections. Political candidates can use robocalls as a means of organizing public campaigns.
- Messages from charities: If a charity hires someone to make robocalls on its behalf, the robocalls can only go to prior donors. In addition to this, such calls must include an automated option to let you stop future calls.
- A robocall from a pharmacy reminding you to refill a prescription is legitimate.
What are Arizona Robocall Scams?
In Arizona, robocall scams include all telemarketing fraud perpetrated by businesses or individuals that deliver false and misleading statements or promises to facilitate their product or service sales. Robocalls of this sort fall under the spectrum of unsolicited calls. The modus operandi of telemarketing in the state is clearly stated in Arizona's Telephone Solicitation Statute.
Scammers use robocalls because they are inexpensive, extensive, and effortless. In addition to this, robocall supports caller ID spoofing, making their users appear anonymous. As a result, identifying the true origin of robocalls is very challenging, but a phone lookup service can help determine if an incoming call is a robocall.
Arizona had the fifth-highest number of unwanted call complaints, with about 281.1 per 100,000 residents in 2018. In April 2018, the numbers were 3.36 billion nationwide and 60 million in Arizona. In the first six months of 2019, residents received over 550 million unsolicited calls.
How are Robocalls Used in Arizona Scams?
Scammers spoof caller IDs to impersonate a familiar organization like a legitimate business and government agency. Generally, spoofing caller IDs to a number that the recipient is familiar with increases the chances that the target will pick the call. Scammers use robocalls to deliver sales presentations in a bid to defraud residents.
A con artist may ask recipients to press certain numbers to speak with live agents, which is usually a means to lure the recipient into giving up vital information. Scammers also use robocalls to identify and steal active phone numbers. Alternatively, scammers can use robocalls to ask their targets to pay certain fines to avoid going to prison.
These scammers prefer payment channels that are difficult to trace, like gift cards, cash, wire transfers, and cryptocurrencies. Residents can download applications that provide reverse phone lookup services to identify robocalls.
Does Arizona Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Arizona State has statutes regulating all manners of telemarketing calls within the state. All robocalls that are recorded to sell a service or product, whether as a means to defraud or not, are regulated by Arizona laws. The anti-robocall laws in the State of Arizona are explained below.
Arizona Do Not Call Registry Law
Arizona Do Not Call Registry law makes it possible for residents to reduce the number of unwanted calls they receive and their chances of falling victims to robocall scams. Residents can enroll their phone numbers on a national registry. The regulation prevents businesses and individuals from making telemarketing calls to a phone number on the DNC Registry. A violation of the law carries a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per act.
Arizona Trace Act
Arizona is one of the States to have endorsed the new Trace Act. The bipartisan legislation was co-sponsored by Arizona's Senator Krysten Senema in 2019 as Senate Bill S151. The Act would combat robocall scams in the following ways:
- Ensure phone companies implement the technology needed to identify spam numbers before it reaches a receiver's phone.
- Increase the time violators could serve in jail to more than two years.
- Increase fines to $10,000 per illegal call.
- Make it easier for federal and state law enforcement to share information and resources.
In December 2019, the United States Senate approved the Trace Act. The Act complements the already existing Telephone Solicitation Act in combating robocall phone scams in the State.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in Arizona?
Arizona Telephone Solicitation Statutes define the modus operandi of telemarketing in the state. Unsolicited telemarketing calls that fail to comply with the Telephone Solicitation Statute are considered illegal and a potential scam call. Residents may employ a reverse phone number search to verify if an incoming call is a robocall. Legitimate robocalls in Arizona must fulfill the following requirements:
- There must be both oral and written permission from the recipients before placing robocalls to them. This does not apply to individuals who have an existing relationship with the caller.
- Telemarketers must agree to the customers’ right to cancel their order orally or in writing, within three days after receiving merchandise.
- Robocalls coming through phone numbers registered on the DNC Registry after 31 days of enrollment are deemed illegal.
- Robocalls are allowed to occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Arizona local time.
- Telemarketers can not intentionally block their Caller ID information.
- A legitimate telemarketing sales call must provide the telemarketing firm’s name, the purpose of calling, and the product or service for sale.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Fraudulent robocalls are a threat to the individual well-being of Arizona residents. Some of these calls do not only extort money from residents in the state; they equally cause panic in society. A reverse phone number lookup tool can help you identify robocalls and avoid scams. Alternatively, residents can contact a reverse phone lookup service provider. Arizona residents can adopt the following measures to avoid robocalls:
- If you have to pick the call, take time to process the information delivered before taking action. However, if you answer a call and hear an automated voice, hang up immediately. Failure to do so may make you become a victim of scams. Scammers may ask you to press a particular number to opt-out of receiving such calls. This is usually a trick to confirm that your number is live.
- Residents who believe they have been scammed should report the robocall numbers to the FTC online or call 1 (888) 382-1222. Alternatively, the individual can file complaints of spoofed robocalls online with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Arizona residents can also report robocall numbers or scams to the State Police or Attorney General's Office.
- Enroll your phone number to the DNC Registry. Registration is free and without stress. Call 1 (888) 382-1222 from the number you intend to register or online.
- Block phone numbers of telemarketers that appear to be calling your line at inappropriate hours.