What Is a Wyoming Robocall?
Robocalls are calls placed by autodialers to deliver pre-recorded messages. Robocalls are used for public service announcements and appointment reminders and by political bodies during political campaigns. Telemarketers also use them to contact existing consumers or other consumers whose consent has been sought and obtained. Some of these robocalls imitate live calls with the use of personalized audio messages.
Some telemarketers and scammers have abused the robocall technology and have made the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) prohibit robocalls unless there is proper permission from the recipient. Usually, these robocalls direct recipients to press specific numbers to be removed from call lists or speak with live agents. Robocalls are mostly used due to their efficiency with little human effort, easy manipulation, and cheap nature.
Where robocalls are unwanted or unsolicited, they are considered illegal. However, there are certain situations where robocalls are legal and do not need the recipient’s consent. These instances include:
- Robocalls for disseminating information, e.g., information on school closing, flight canceled appointment reminder, etc.
- Robocalls from tax-exempt nonprofit groups/ charitable organizations
- Robocalls from political bodies or political calls from candidates
- Robocalls from the hospital or pharmacy (health care providers), e.g., a reminder of a hospital appointment or a prescription refill
- Robocalls on debt collection - Robocalls from a business contacting the receiver to collect a debt.
What Are Wyoming Robocall Scams?
When a person calls you without your prior consent and is not one of the exceptions to the consent rule, it is most likely a scam. Wyoming robocall scams are the illegal use of robocalls with the intent to steal and defraud recipients. These robocalls scams operate in a way that makes them appear to be from legitimate bodies or businesses through Caller ID and location spoofing. These scammers also try to lure recipients into deals that seem legit to steal the user's identity, valuables, and financial information. These illegal robocalls include social security scams, telemarketing scams, health insurance scams, and outright identity theft.
How Are Robocalls Used in Wyoming Scams?
Scammers use Caller ID spoofing to hide their identities and the origins of robocalls. Often, they take on the identities of certain legitimate organizations and government agencies the recipient is familiar with, increasing the recipient’s chances of taking the call. These scammers use these robocalls to defraud and carry out criminal acts.
These robocalls direct the receiver to press certain numbers to speak with live agents or be removed from call lists. This is usually a fraudulent scheme as the number becomes a target, which breeds even more calls. On the other hand, the recipient may be lured and tricked into giving out sensitive personal information.
Scammers adopt numerous tactics in a bid to defraud their targets. Some robocalls operate like live calls, making the recipients believe that they are speaking to a real human. It is noteworthy that a Caller ID can be tweaked to make the number appear as a local number when in the real sense, the Caller ID is being spoofed.
Unsolicited robocalls are illegal and can be reported as potential scams. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides more information on Caller ID spoofing and how to avoid falling victim to it.
Does Wyoming Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
There are no specific anti-robocall laws in Wyoming. Still, the state prohibits any form of calls, including robocalls to numbers on the Wyoming Do-Not-Call Registry, established based on the Telephone Solicitation Act. However, the law exempts certain entities from this law, such as political fundraisers and charities that call their registered members. Registration on this list can help to protect one from telemarketing fraud.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted in 1991. This is the federal law that restricts telemarketing calls and the use of pre-recorded or artificial voice messages and automatic telephone dialing systems. The Commission adopted some rules to implement the TCPA in 1992. This includes the rule that any company making telephone solicitations must maintain a company-specific Do-Not-Call list. This way, recipients can ask to be added to the list if they do not want to be contacted, and the Company is obliged to respect such requests.
In 2012, the TCPA rule was revised by the FCC such that telemarketers are required to:
- Receive consent (prior written express consent) from the recipients before robocalling them.
- Not hide under the facade of an established business relationship to avoid getting proper consent from the recipient.
- Provide an automated "opt-out" mechanism during the call so that recipients can choose not to be contacted.
The Act prohibits individuals from making any call other than emergency calls or calls with prior consent using an auto dialing system or pre-recorded voice to:
- An emergency line, including 911, in a hospital, health care facility, service office or medical physician, fire protection, poison protection service, or any law enforcement agency
- The phone line of a patient room, elderly home, guest room, or any such similar establishment
- Any phone number assigned to a specialized mobile radio service, paging service, cellular telephone services, or any other service for which the recipient is charged for the call
Every TCPA violation in a robocall lawsuit is $500. However, where the company "willfully and knowingly" violates the law, the civil penalty triples to $1,500.
Are There Special Requirements for Robocalls in Wyoming?
Wyoming has certain special requirements for robocalls that mandatorily have to be complied with. Telemarketers ought to comply with these requirements to avoid penalties. The following special requirements are covered under the Wyoming Telephone Solicitation Act:
- Pre-recorded or automated calls made to persuade a purchase without the receiver's consent are not permitted.
- Telephone Solicitors shall not make robocalls before the hours of 8 am or after 8 pm, Wyoming local time.
- Any solicitor making robocalls to residential or mobile numbers shall from the outset disclose the following:
- The caller's name.
- Phone number and address they may be contacted on and identity of the telephone solicitor.
- The purpose of the call; if it is sales, the name of the goods and services in question must be provided.
- Make it a duty to ask or confirm that the receiver consents to hear a prerecorded message.
- Numbers on the Wyoming Do-Not-Call Registry and the National Do Not Call Registry are exempted from receiving robocalls.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Unwanted and unsolicited robocalls are mostly used for phone scams. These robocalls have become the largest source of complaints the FCC and the FTC receive. Here are steps to take to restrict these robocalls:
- Calls from unknown numbers should not be taken, but if this is done mistakenly, the recipient should immediately hang up.
- Download and install a call-blocking app. Some call-blocking apps available on Android and iPhone include Robokiller, Truecaller, Hiya, etc. There are also options on mobile devices that help block certain numbers.
- Register your number to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry. Also, register on Wyoming Do Not Call Registry online or by sending a regular mail to the DMA Telephone Preference Service.File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report any illegal or suspicious robocalls. The FCC can be called on 888-225-5322 or the FTC on 877-382-4357.