Robocalling: Is it illegal, and can I stop it?

Here is perhaps the ultimate scam dreamed up by an individual or company on the prowl for easy money from unwary consumers: commiserating with a consumer who has been ripped off by a previous con artist and posing as a recovery agent empowered to get money back that was handed over to that defrauder.

An online overview of telemarketing scams rightly states that this ruse is “adding insult to injury” by seeking to further harm an individual who has already been taken advantage of in a fraudulent scheme.

It would be hard to find an adult -- any adult -- in Pennsylvania or any other part of the country who hasn’t either been scammed in a telemarketing ruse or been the would-be victim of a scammer.

What can be done to stop those attempts to extract money from your wallet? Can live telemarketing presentations and so-called “robocalling” that hits you as a cold call -- yes, often during dinner -- be stopped?

In many instances, yes, although a bit of extra effort and assistance might sometimes be required.

A proven consumer protection attorney can educate a consumer about state and federal protections that exist to safeguard individuals and families from predatory and deceptive telemarketing behavior. Federal legislation passed in 1991 -- the Telephone Consumer Protection Act -- sets forth a number of rules and requirements that telemarketers must follow if they seek to call consumers. There is also a national Do Not Call Registry to which a consumer’s phone number can be added.

That can solve most problems, but often not all of them. Savvy telemarketers know that they can skate the boundaries of the law by using certain words, noting that they have called a consumer in the past, defining themselves as a charity, stating that their communication is not a sale call, and so forth.

Any individual having difficulty with a telemarketing communication or behavior can promptly address that situation by enlisting the services of a knowledgeable and aggressive consumer protection lawyer.

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