What is an Alaska Robocall?
Robocalls deliver pre-recorded messages via auto-dialed telephone calls at little or no cost to selected phone numbers. Entities such as debt collectors, charities, and political organizations use robocalls for legitimate purposes in Alaska. Also, medical professionals like doctors and pharmacists use robocalls to either notify patients of their appointment or send prescription reminders. However, phone scammers use robocall for illicit purposes. They often fool unsuspecting residents into falling for their fraudulent schemes using robocalls. In many instances, they spoof robocalls to deceive their targets into believing they are contacting them in their best interests and then extort them.
The State of Alaska ranks as one of the lowest hit by robocalls in the United States, according to YouMail’s Robocalling Index. In 2019, residents received more than 28 million robocalls, with an average of 45 calls per resident. Despite these low figures, Alaskans continue to complain about unsolicited calls and describe them as annoying and disruptive. The state regulatory authority for robocalls is the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA), while the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulates robocalls in the United States.
What are Alaska Robocall Scams?
Phone scammers use robocall scams to target several residents with pre-recorded messages delivered by phone calls in an attempt to rip them off. Fraudsters favor these scams because they increase the chances of their successes and cost almost nothing to use. They often spoof Caller IDs to preserve their anonymity when they execute these scams and identify themselves with familiar legitimate businesses of government agencies. Residents can utilize reverse phone number lookup tools to determine if incoming calls are live calls or robocalls. The Alaska Attorney General, in 2019, collaborated with other American Attorneys General and 12 telephone companies to adopt the eight robocall principles to combat illegal robocalls.
Does Alaska Have Anti-Robocall Laws?
Yes. The State of Alaska has laws to regulate the activities of telemarketers and stem the proliferation of robocalls. The Alaska Legislature, in their fight against the scourge of illegal robocalls, enacted the following laws to protect its residents from financial and identity losses:
The Unlawful, Unwanted Telephone Advertisements and Solicitations Act
Alaska Statutes Title 45 Trade and Commerce Sec. 45.50.475 specifies what constitutes illegal robocalls in the state. It states the specific steps in disseminating robocalls and prescribes appropriate penalties for its violations. This legislation recommends a penalty of $100 for each infringement.
Alaska’s Do Not Call Law
This law is an extension of the Unwanted Telephone Solicitations law and specifies guidelines for telemarketers in Alaska to observe when making telephone solicitations. Telemarketers violate Alaska’s Consumer Protection Act when they:
- Call residents whose numbers are listed on the Federal Do Not Call Registry.
- Contact residents who have previously notified them that they do not want to receive telephone solicitations.
- Place telephone calls using recorded or automated messages for solicitations or advertisements.
Are there Special Requirements for Robocalls in Alaska?
There are special requirements for legitimate robocalls in Alaska. The provisions exist to help Alaskans differentiate scam robocalls from legitimate ones, avoid scams, and pursue private rights of action. The state anti-robocall laws recommend civil penalties for violations of these requirements.
Alaska’s Unwanted Telephone Solicitations Law describes these telemarketing actions as unlawful:
- Calling residents or telecommunications companies registered on the National DNC list.
- Calling residents who have previously requested not to be contacted by telemarketing companies, business entities, and charity organizations.
- Contacting residents using automated calls to deliver pre-recorded messages targeted at unwanted solicitations.
Alaska’s Telephonic Solicitation Act also set out these guidelines for telemarketers:
- Telemarketers must, within the first 15 seconds, clearly state their names and phone numbers, whom they represent, and the nature of their calls.
- Telemarketers must end their phone calls immediately the recipients express disinterest in their solicitations.
- Telemarketers must obtain signed written contracts from buyers before receiving payments from them.
Violations of the provisions of the Alaska Consumer Protection Act are punishable, upon conviction, by cash fines of between $1,000 to $25,000 per violation. Telemarketers who engage in telephone solicitations in Alaska are required to register with Alaska’s Department of Law 30 days before getting into action. The ones that fail to comply are guilty of a Class C felony, and this attracts fines of up to $25,000.
How Do I Stop Robocalls?
Illegal robocalls can be hard to detect since they often appear as legitimate calls using phone spoofing technology. Also, because of the time-sensitive nature of robocalls, phone scammers employ them during elections and holiday seasons, making it challenging for Alaskans to recognize them. However, websites that offer free and paid reverse phone lookup services can help differentiate robocalls from live calls. Identifying illegal robocalls is key to avoiding phone scammers’ deceptive schemes. You can take the following steps to reduce the inundation of malicious automated calls and avoid scams:
- Hang up your phone once you realize a telephone call is a robocall. Decline any instruction to press any number key to either opt out or speak with a live operator. It is a ploy to verify if your number is active, and acting on it will earn you more robocalls.
- Reject calls from unknown phone numbers and. Unknown callers who call you repeatedly but refuse to leave any message on your voicemail machine are possibly scam callers.
- Request free call-blocking tools from your phone company and use them to block identified robocall numbers. You can also download third-party call-blocking applications such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, and Hiya to bar robocall numbers.
- Report illegal robocalls to the FTC by calling 1 (888) 382-1222 or by filing complaints online. Alternatively, you can submit spoofed robocalls complaints online to the FCC or contact them at 1 (888) 225-5322.
- Add your phone number to the Federal Do Not Call Registry. The FCC bans telemarketers and other commercial companies from placing sales and promotion calls to registered numbers. Residents are more likely to identify illegal robocalls if they enroll their numbers on the DNC list.
- Search online for websites that offer reverse phone number lookup services to identify robocall numbers.