What is a Maryland Robocall?
A robocall is a self-regulating phone call that transmits a pre-recorded message to the general public. These calls utilize an autodialer to connect to a random or prepared list of phone users. Technically, robocalls are used to convey important messages, and it is the intent of the message that makes such calls legal or not.
Robocalls have diverse uses in Maryland state, some legal and others illegal. Generally, in the United States, politicians are allowed to use robocalls for election campaigns. It is a tool used to communicate and persuade the electorate to fulfill their civil rights. Similarly, government agencies may also use robocalls for emergency announcements.
The problem with robocalls is that they can be used to perpetrate crimes. Robocalls top the chart of complaints to attorneys general offices across the country. Fraudsters use robocalls to sell counterfeit products and services without the recipient's consent. These are scam calls, and they are used to defraud residents. All robocalls related complaints are enforced and regulated by the Maryland Attorney General Office.
What are Maryland Robocall Scams?
Robocall scams facilitate dishonest activities in Maryland. Fraudsters commit these crimes against the residents of the state. Robocalls are usually unsolicited calls and can be very disturbing. Generally, scammers use robocalls services because they are cheaper and can reach a larger audience without stress.
Robocall users always appear anonymous, making it very difficult to identify who they are. However, using a reverse phone lookup service would help to determine whether an incoming call is a robocall or not.
How are Robocalls Used in Maryland?
In Maryland, robocalls are used to perpetrate petty and high profile scams. Scammers can fake their caller ID and pretend to represent a well-known organization when dealing with their target. They may use robocalls to transmit misleading sales pitches to defraud residents and also make bogus offers to lure targets into taking some action.
Most times, these rewards are not real, and even when they are real, they are not as much as the individual has been made to believe. Robocalls are also used to impersonate government agencies. Scammers transmit a pre-recorded message pretending to represent information approved by a government agency. They call victims and ask them to press a particular number on their cell.
It is often done with the intent of connecting the victim to another fraudster pretending to be a live agent. Robocalls like this are used to extort money or personal information from targets. Robocalls are also used to impersonate police officers. Scammers spoof their caller IDs to pose as high ranked officers. They ask targets to pay some fees or risk going to jail.
The Maryland State Police has warned residents about such phone scams in the state. Scammers also use robocalls to identify active phone numbers in the state. Residents of Maryland need to fish out robocalls by using reverse phone lookup service applications.
Similarly, fraudsters often use robocalls to impersonate court officials, in which case, a victim is informed of a duty charge they are expected to pay. The scammers may also ask targets to pay a fee to facilitate the release of a family member. Residents are advised to use a reverse phone lookup tool to identify legitimate calls. Individuals that can not do so may contact a reverse phone number service provider for directions.
Does Maryland Have Anti Robocalls Laws?
In 2019, the State's Attorney General announced that the new bi-partisan legislation regarding robocalls would take effect in the state. The legislation results from a collaborative process of the 51 Attorney General's in the Country and public and private phone companies. According to the Maryland Attorney General, phone companies have agreed to adopt eight principles to curb illegal robocalls. Phone companies will adopt four principles in preventing illegal robocalls and four principles in enforcing the robocalls rule. These include;
- Phone companies must implement call-blocking technology at the network level. This should be done without imposing any extra charge on customers.
- Phone companies must provide free easy to use call blocking and labeling tools.
- Implementing the new STIR/SHAKEN authentication rule. Phone companies must confirm that callers are coming from a valid source.
- Monitor networks for robocalls traffic.
The rule also states that phone companies will assist each state Attorney General in enforcing the anti-robocall rule. Some of the ways it could be done are:
- Phone companies must know who their customers are so that anyone making robocalls can be identified and investigated.
- They should investigate and take action against suspicious callers and also inform the Attorney General about it.
- Assist law enforcement, including the Attorney General, to trace the origins of illegal robocalls.
- Requiring telephone companies with which they contract to cooperate in traceback identification.
Are There Special Requirements for Robocalls in Maryland?
There are special provisions for lawful robocalls in Maryland state. Any unwarranted digital marketing call that does not comply with the requirements is illegal and a potential scam call. Conversely, a phone number reverse search can help verify if an incoming call from an unidentified number is a robocall. Legal robocall in Maryland must fulfill the following conditions:
- There must be written permission to the receivers before embarking on robocalls.
- Robocalls to phone numbers registered on the DNC registry after 31 days of enrollment are deemed illegal.
- Legal robocalls are allowed to occur between 8 am and 9 pm.
- A legal digital marketing sales call must provide the telemarketing firms' names, the purpose of the call, and the product and services for sale.
Some robocalls do not necessarily require permission. Such robocalls are not prohibited and may be made to residents at any time. Such calls include:
- Calls from legitimate charitable organizations
- Calls serving as political awareness messages
- All urgent calls intended to disseminate information on cancellation of flights, school resumption.
- Calls from health care providers etc.
How Do I Stop Robocalls
Individuals living in Maryland receive many robocalls, and because of the rate at which these calls are delivered to them, many residents are now skeptical about telephone communication. Robocall is an infringement of privacy, exposing residents to extortion. Residents can embark on the following measures to protect themselves from fraudulent robocalls.
- Avoid taking calls from unidentified phone numbers. If it is very urgent, the caller would leave a message or voicemail. Contact a reverse phone number service provider if you have mistakenly spoken to a suspected fraudster.
- Hang up a call immediately when you hear an automated voice. Listening to such calls exposes you to influence from scammers. Fraudulent robocalls often request that victims press a particular number. This is usually used to confirm whether the target's number is active.
- Robocalls using third-party numbers should be blocked. Applications like Hiya, Nomorobo, and Truecaller, identify and screen robocalls as soon as they display on your phone's display.
- Fraudulent robocalls should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call 1 (888) 382-1222. Residents may also forward spoofed robocalls to Maryland State Police.
- Register your mobile number on the DNC registry. Adding your phone number to this list exempts you from receiving unsolicited calls. Contact the Federal Trade Commission FTC for more information. Registration is free.