Robocallers and scammers are taking advantage of the federal government shutdown in a variety of ways, by boosting the number of calls being made because nobody is around to enforce the laws and by attempting to scare or take advantage of confused consumers about what is and what is not currently operating, according to a published report.
Much of the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are closed, and those are the two regulators who oversee scams and robocalls, and the fact that the sheriff’s have left town has not been lost on scammers, according to the report.
“The number of robo-calls consumers are receiving is insane,” Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said Thursday. “The problem just keeps growing. Shutting down the government is not going to help.”
A lack of government oversight is not necessarily a good development for the ARM industry, and a growing number of scams is likely to cause more concerns and problems for collection agencies.
Scammers are also seeking to capitalize on the shutdown, according to the report. One such scam, for example, is a voicemail that informs individuals about potential issues with tax returns and unpaid tax debts. Normally, the FCC or FTC would be available to discredit these kinds of scams, but they are not doing so while the government shutdown is in effect.
“Shuttering the FTC’s efforts to alert consumers and crack down on robo-calls has the potential to give them the upper hand,” said Terrell McSweeny, a former Democratic commissioner at the agency.
Collection agencies should be made aware of this new influx of robocalls and be prepared for even fewer right-party contacts and more skepticism from people who do answer the phone.