A robocall is a call made from a device that selects and dials telephone numbers to disseminate a pre-recorded message to the call recipient. Robocalls send synthesized messages to a target audience using a 'bot voice'. They have multiple uses in North Dakota, ranging from public announcements, personal reminders to sales advertisements. Every individual in North Dakota has received a legitimate robocall at one point or the other. However, robocalls have evolved into one of the means con artists use to scam innocent people.
Since robocalls are used to sell goods and services or communicate important information, recipients of these calls are usually selected from a larger group. Some robocalls may be initiated by live operators, while others only require an 'Automatic dialing-announcing device.' There are two types of robocall in North Dakota, and they include normal robocalls and telephone solicitations, which are often employed by telemarketers. The first category of robocalls may not require the recipient’s consent or permission before they are placed. Generally, normal robocalls include:
- A robocall placed on behalf of a political party, a candidate, or any other group with political information
- Robocalls placed on behalf of charity organizations that are exempted from federal income taxation
- Robocalls that are placed without the intent to complete a sales presentation
- A robocall that is placed by or on behalf of anyone with the intent of soliciting the expression of ideas, votes, or opinions
- Robocalls that report an emergency in schools or other academic institutions
- Robocalls placed to remind individuals to pick up their prescriptions
- Robocalls from public safety agency reporting an emergency
- Robocalls from employers to employees
In North Dakota, individuals can not place a robocall just because they want to. The State of North Dakota prohibits the use of robocalls to defraud or cause harm to residents of the state. Residents who may have been targeted by robocall scams may file and submit a complaint to the Office of the North Dakota Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division. Individuals can also contact the division via the telephone by calling 1-800-472-2600.
What are North Dakota Robocall Scams?
North Dakota robocall scam is simply any unlawful act perpetrated on state residents during a telephone solicitation. Scammers can execute any robocall scam by playing any of their bogus pre-recorded scripts to the recipient. Residents should be cautious of taking calls from random numbers. If the message is important, the caller will leave a message.
Generally, scammers prefer robocalls because they are inexpensive and may not need any manpower to function. In addition to this, illegitimate robocallers can easily disguise their real identity with caller ID spoofing. Spoofed robocalls are very difficult to identify and avoid. These calls will often appear to come from legitimate businesses making it difficult for individuals to ignore them. Identifying the origin of a robocall may be challenging, but telecommunications companies have the technology to filter out scam robocalls. Residents who have been scammed by false telemarketers may contact the North Dakota State Police.
How are Robocalls Used in North Dakota Scams?
Robocalls are ravaging mobile and landline numbers in North Dakota, and it has continued to increase over time. Scammers in North Dakota use a common trick known as 'Neighbour Spoofing' to make their caller ID resemble a local number.
Robocall phone scams may involve more than one individual. For example, a robocall can ask the recipient to press a button to speak with a live agent or call another individual who claims to be an agent. This is usually a trick to identify active phone numbers to engage them in fraudulent telephone solicitation. Scammers may also request money for some service from the call recipient. Residents who may have been targeted by Robocall scams can contact the county police where they reside. In addition to this, individuals can contact a reverse phone lookup service provider for help.
Does North Dakota Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Yes, North Dakota does have a working anti-robocall law. North Dakota Telephone Solicitation Act 51-28-02 prohibits individuals from using an 'Automatic dialing-announcing device to contact any resident of the state without their request or permission. This is also applicable to the use of pre-recorded or synthesized messages for telephone solicitation.
Section 51-28-06 of the same act prohibits the use of false or inaccurate caller ID information in robocalls. Telemarketers may not use any method to block or deliberately disguise accurate caller ID information. In addition to this, a caller can not contact anyone whose number is enlisted on the Do Not Call List after 31 days of enrollment. Individuals who violate this section or any other section must pay a $5000 fine.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in North Dakota?
Residents fall victim to telemarketing fraud because they can hardly tell the difference between legitimate and illegitimate robocalls. Scammers may spoof their phone number to appear genuine so that their targets will not suspect them. However, residents can spot an illegitimate robocall by comparing a call to the state's requirement for robocalls. North Dakota Telephone Solicitation Act specifies how a telephone solicitation should be made. The requirements include:
- A telemarketer must get an expression written, consent, invitation, or permission before placing a telephone solicitation.
- Robocalls to phone numbers registered on the DNC Registry after 31 days of enrollment are prohibited.
- A caller may not use an automatic dialing-announcing device to make any telephone solicitation before 8:00 am and 9:00 pm.
- A live operator must disclose the name of the business, the reason for the call, and the goods or services that are up for sale.
- A caller must stop placing a robocall to any recipient that has rejected the call once.
- Telemarketers may not by any means deliberately send false or misleading caller ID information.
- Telemarketers can not use auto-dialers unless it disconnects within 10 seconds of the recipient hanging up.
- Telemarketers shall not use paid professional fundraisers.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Robocalls disturb the peace and sanity of residents in North Dakota. State residents receive too many of such calls in a year, and many of them have fallen victim to fraudulent robocalls. Most times, residents feel powerless against such calls because scammers often disguise their identity to commit crimes. The availability of new internet technology has made it even more difficult to tell which call is a scam call. Con artists may spoof their phone number to look like a number from the target's location, making it almost impossible for the individual to avoid the call.
To avoid robocalls, residents have been advised to take the following steps.
- Never continue with a robocall if the caller fails to introduce themselves and the purpose of the call. North Dakota law provides that legitimate telemarketers disclose their name, company, the purpose of calling, and the goods and services they want to sell before starting up a telephone solicitation. In addition to this, the caller must also inform the call recipient of any extra payment attached to doing business with them.
- Avoid calls from businesses you are not familiar with. If the caller continues to ring the call recipient after the individual has declined the call once, the individual should report the call to the county attorney general. Most illegitimate callers will often call without the call recipient’s consent. Since this is a violation of the state telemarketing law, residents can report these calls to the county police.
- Download and install a call blocking application such as Truecaller or Hiya. These applications can help you identify and block robocalls. Individuals can contact a reverse phone number service provider for more information on the numbers that have called them. Alternatively, the person may conduct a reverse phone lookup search with any reverse phone number application available to them.
- Add your phone numbers to the Federal Do Not Call Registry. This prevents illegitimate telemarketers from calling the number.