We have all received those annoying robocalls with the voice of an actual person, such as “Rachel” from cardholder services, but without a real person on the line. Robocalls are recorded, computer generated mass phone calls that contain a variety of enticing offers, such as a lower mortgage rate, lower credit card interest or a better automobile warranty. Illegal robocalls are easy to spot. If you receive a robocall, it is illegal. Federal law prohibits recorded sales messages unless you have given your specific written permission to receive them. Only politicians, charities and poll taking researchers are allowed to use robocalls.
The very fact that you are receiving a robocall indicates that the caller is acting illegally so why should you expect their offer to be anything close to legitimate. Hang up immediately.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just announced two new robocall contests in an effort to get help from the public in its battle to stop robocalls. Contestants will compete in the development of a new honeypot which is the term for an information system that can be used to gather and analyze robocalls. One of the two contests has a $25,000 top prize and as many as two honorable mention awards of $10,500 each. You can find information about the robocall contests at www.challenge.gov in the section entitled “Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back.”