A few robocall advisories have been issued around the U.S. recently, one of them originating in Tennessee and the other in the Kansas City area, where two insurance agents helped thwart a con to swipe their driver’s license information.
The Kansas Insurance Department (KID) said in a statement that the robocalls, which are telephone solicitations to consumers typically leading to requests for information, “picked the wrong people to call.”
The agents who were robocalled noticed something awry when the caller tried to sell them coverage under an insurer that they worked for.
The caller also asked the licensed agents for their driver’s license information, which is often a “red flag,” and listed employment at several car insurers that was recognized as not employing independent agents, according to the KID.
Sandy Praeger, KID’s commissioner, said further investigation found that other Kansas auto insurance consumers had submitted complaints about similar calls.
According to Praeger, the two agents noticed the robocall scheme because they followed a department motto about consumer protection: Stop. Call. Confirm.
“If you think something is fishy, stop the conversation, call our department and confirm that the person on the phone is a registered Kansas insurance agent,” she said in a statement.
A recent advisory out of Tennessee echoed the advice, urging consumers to “just hang up” on automated robocalls to avoid bait that “thieves and scam artists [use] to lure residents into traps.”
“If you pick up the phone and a recorded voice tries to sell you something — hang up immediately!” said Gary Cordell, director of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs.
Complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about robocalls have doubled between 2010 and 2012, while the Federal Trade Commission receives hundreds of thousands of robocall complaints each month, according to the division.
The division offered the following advice:
If you get a robocall from a telemarketer, hang up.
Don’t press one: the option that connects you to a live person, who may try to sell you a scam.
Don’t press two: the option that’s supposed to take you off their calling list. You may get more robocalls if you confirm that a human being answers your number.
Never give your personal information through a robocall.
Never give your credit card or banking information to anyone at the end of a robocall.
- If you’re receiving harassing robocalls call your local authorities.
Consumers can report robocalls to their state regulatory department, which have consumer protection divisions that follow up on such cons.
Similar advisories have been issued following instances of robocalls in Indiana and Connecticut. Robocalls schemes can sometimes follow major weather events, when criminals know consumers will have coverage-related questions and needs.