Robocalls are calls that deliver automated or pre-recorded messages to selected mass phone users via telephone calls. Some people refer to a robocall as a call from a robot. Robocalls are most often associated with scammers, but some are from legitimate businesses. These automated calls are widely utilized in Colorado by political campaigns organizations during elections. Telemarketers in the State of Colorado also adopt robocalls for advertising products and services. If the government wants to make a public announcement to residents, especially during emergencies, robocalls service comes in handy. Coloradans can differentiate robocalls from regular phone calls using phone lookup applications. Unsolicited robocalls are illegal and are known as spam calls. These types of robocalls typically aim to extort naive call recipients. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates robocalls in Colorado.
According to the FTC, more than half of all calls made from cell phones are spam calls, and robocalls are increasing across the United States. Colorado registered the most robocall complaints in 2019. An estimated 130,640 robocall complaints were lodged by residents with the FTC in that year, implying about 2,403 complaints per capita (100 residents). The state ranked third in total robocalls received by residents in 2019, with an estimated 844,763,200 robocalls. As of October 2020, Colorado had recorded over 596 million robocalls placed to residents within the year.
What are Colorado Robocall Scams?
These are scams targeted at Coloradans using illegal robocalls. Phone scammers use robocalls to prey on their targets the same way they employ live calls and text messages. It is essential to state that not all robocalls are illegal, but quite many are. The most filed phone scam complaints at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yearly in the United States are robocall scams. The success rate of robocall scams in Colorado is high. Many residents have at a time and time again lost money or shared sensitive personal information with these fraudsters. It is possible to escape robocall scams using phone lookup services to detect such calls. Phone scammers favor robocalls because they are easy to initiate and cheap. Also, they can deliver recorded information to a mass public with minimal human effort.
Phone scammers in Colorado typically use spoofed robocalls when they choose to strike using robocalls. Spoofed robocalls are automated calls bearing identities other than the persons initiating them. Coloradans are encouraged to do reverse phone number searches for all unknown incoming calls to ascertain if they are robocalls to prevent these scams. Fraudsters know that they must earn their targets' trust to achieve their goals. This is why they often pretend to be representatives of the government or other legitimate known organizations. When engaging in these scams, fraudsters fake the Caller IDs appearing on recipients' Caller ID information display to fool them. They typically demand fines or claim they need some information for verification purposes. Once they succeed in obtaining such information, their victims become vulnerable to identity thefts.
Another twist to robocall scams is using them to identify active phone numbers. In such instances, the automated voices will instruct recipients to press a particular number to either opt-out or speak to live operators. Persons who fall for these tricks become future targets of robocall scams and other phone scams.
Does Colorado Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Robocalls are not only annoying, but they also pose significant threats to Coloradan, especially as people who live in a state that gets high robocalls daily. The Colorado General Assembly, in 2001, passed legislation that allows residents to protect themselves from unsolicited calls. This legislation, known as Colorado's No-Call Law, birthed the Colorado Do-Not-Call List. It is illegal for telemarketers to contact persons who have added their numbers to this list.
The United States Senator Cory Gardner for Colorado co-sponsored the TRACED Act on March 7, 2019, to curb the menace of robocalls in the United States. TRACED is an acronym for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement Deterrence. Garner strongly backed this Act because of the surge in Colorado robocalls. The Act requires telephone companies to implement a system to authenticate and verify the legitimacy of phone calls. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Thune John, was introduced on January 16, 2019, and became public law on December 30, 2019.
Also, the Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is part of the public-private coalition that adopted eight principles to fight illegal robocalls. These rules aim to prevent unlawful robocalls and assist participating Attorneys General in investigating and prosecuting persons engaging in robocall scams. To enforce the anti-robocall principles, the involved phone companies will do the following:
- Work with law enforcement and state Attorney General to track the origin of robocalls.
- Implement call-blocking technology as a free service to consumers.
- Keep tabs on robocall traffic on their network.
- Execute technology that authenticates that calls originated from genuine sources.
- Provide consumers with free and usable call labeling tools.
The public-private coalition comprises 12 phone companies and the Attorneys General from all 50 states, and Washington DC.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in Colorado?
The FTC says that about half of calls made to cell phones in the United States yearly are spam calls. To be able to categorize a robocall as legitimate in Colorado, such a robocall must meet some special requirements. It, therefore, means that robocalls that do not satisfy these rules are illegal and potential scam calls. These requirements include:
- Call recipients must have previously given their consent or have an existing personal or business relationship with the callers.
- The pre-recorded message must be started by a live operator.
- At the beginning of the call, the pre-recorded message must disclose the caller's identity. It must also specify the purpose of the engagement and the nature of products and services in offering.
- The pre-recorded message must expressly state that recipients may opt-out of receiving future calls if it intends to solicit money.
A few exemptions to these provisions include calls from employers to employees and calls by schools to parents or their wards. Also, these requirements exempt reverse 911 emergency calls.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Robocalls scams take a front seat in the league of phone scams perpetrated in Colorado. Websites that offer phone lookup services can help residents identify these unwanted calls and avoid scams. You can reduce the inundation of robocalls in the following ways:
- Do not interact with robocalls. If you hit a button to speak with a live agent, it will make them realize your number is active. You will end up a regular target for future robocalls and other phone scams.
- Add your number to Colorado Do-Not-Call List and the DNC Registry. Doing these will not completely stop unsolicited calls but assures you that any robocall you get after registrations is a potential scam. You can enlist your number in the FTC's managed DNC Registry by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 from your phone number. Also, call toll free (800)-309-7041 to enroll in the Colorado Do-Not-Call List managed by the PUC.
- If you are already on the DNC Registry and Colorado Do-Not-Call List and still get robocalls, file complaints online with the FTC or call 1 (888) 382-1222. You can also report online to the PUC.
- Block robocalls using the built-in call-blocking function of your cell phone. Activate anonymous call rejection on landline phones by picking up the receiver and pressing *77. You will hear a short beep thrice confirming activation. This will block all incoming anonymous calls, including robocalls, from getting through.
- You can download third-party call-blocking applications such as Truecaller, Nomorobo, PrivacyStar, and Hiya to screen unwanted calls.