According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 2.4 billion robocalls spam our phones every month. Unless a company has obtained written permission to reach out to consumers by phone, these calls violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Despite the laws, countless illegal robocalls are made every day. Where do they come from? When one man decided to play along with the spam call, it sent him down a rabbit hole into the sketchy world of robocalls.
When an automated voice response system asked Cedric, who requested his last name be withheld, if he wanted to repair his credit, he played along and said yes. Soon, Cedric was speaking to a representative at creditfix.com. Later, when he tried to recall the original number, he learned it was not in service. The number, 314-754-0123, was likely spoofed to make it appear like it was from Cedric’s area in Missouri. Cedric reached out to Brian Krebs of “KrebsOnSecurity,” who helped further investigate the source of Cedric’s robocalls.
Creditfix is a legitimate company located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Krebs emailed Creditfix and received a response from Sean in the compliance department. Sean said Krebs’ complaint was the second the company had received regarding robocalls. He suspected Creditfix had been scammed by a lead generation company, which used robocalls to quickly collect illegal referrals. Creditfix now has a banner at the top of their webpage that reads, “Got a call from us you weren’t expecting? Click here,” where people can report robocalls.
Since robocalls are often illegal, most companies don’t want to use leads from these calls. However, when a business buys leads from a marketing company, they don’t often know where those leads come from. Companies that buy leads from robocalls, knowingly or not, usually find themselves sued for violating laws against robocalls. Robby Birnbaum, a Florida debt relief attorney and president of the National Association of Credit Services Organizations, advises business to require lead generators state how each lead was generated in the customer file, so they can avoid violating such laws.
As for consumers who want to put an end to obnoxious robocalls, start by putting your number on the do not call registry at donotcall.gov. This won’t stop all robocalls, but if you receive a such a call after your number is on the registry, it’s a good sign the company is trying to scam you. You should then report future robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission.