Robocall tactics are constantly changing, as scammers and marketers devise new ways to harass us. Here’s a rundown of the latest scams and tactics from robocallers that could affect you.
Virginia Robocall Scam Targets Medicaid Expansion
A new robocall scam is targeting Virginians in the run-up to the State’s expansion of Medicaid coverage, which is expected to cover about 400,000 people who previously had no health care coverage, ABC 13 reports.
Gaylene Kanoyton says the new brand of robocalls are a scam. Kanoyton, founder of Celebrate Healthcare, an organization that educates consumers about the Affordable Care Act, told reporters that scammers are calling people in Virginia and offering to hook them up with low-cost insurance. The only problem? The scammers don’t actually help you purchase health insurance. Instead, they take your credit card number, deduct a monthly fee from your account and do nothing. Visit the doctor, Kanoyton says, and you’ll learn that you don’t actually have coverage.
Legitimate information about the Medicaid expansion, Kanoyton adds, comes from state or local human services departments, not robocallers who spam you out of the blue.
California Robocall Opposes Net Neutrality Proposal
A new robocall in California is telling seniors that a San Francisco politician’s plan to impose net neutrality rules throughout the State will raise their cell phone bills by $30 and slow down connection speeds, according to Ars Technica.
The call, sponsored by the Civil Justice Association of California and the Congress of California Seniors, urges senior citizens who receive it to call their local assembly member and oppose State Bill 822, which is modeled after the federal net neutrality rules that held sway nationwide between 2015 and 2018. AT&T and Verizon, both listed as backers of the Congress of California Seniors, say they are not involved in the robocalls.
The Federal Communications Commission voted in December 2017 to overturn the Open Internet Order, a 2015 regulation passed under President Obama that blocked internet service providers from throttling internet service to certain sites. There’s very little, if any evidence, that the imposition of net neutrality will raise cell phone bills. At the same time, many proponents of net neutrality said, at the time of its repeal, that throwing away the rules would also lead to an increase in phone bills. That didn’t happen, either.
Your internet bill, on the other hand, could go up under SB822. The bill proposes to eliminate so-called zero-rated plans, in which internet service providers offer free services to entice customers. Think about an offer where streaming music on Spotify wouldn’t count toward your data plan. Under SB822, that kind of offer would be illegal.
And it turns out that this is where the $30 figure mentioned in the robocall comes from. A study led by Dr. David Sosa of Analysis Group, a consultancy firm, found that zero-rating leads to significant cost savings for Californians who only access the internet through their phones.
Boston Scientific Faces New Robocall Lawsuit
Boston Scientific has been hit by a new robocall lawsuit, Mass Device reports. In his class action complaint, plaintiff Steven Sandoe, a resident of Texas, says he received unwanted robocalls from the Massachusetts-based medical technology company.
The calls reportedly solicited recipients to attend a marketing seminar about the company’s Spectra WaveWriter SCS, a spinal cord stimulation device designed to relieve back pain. Sandoe claims in his robocall lawsuit that he received the robocalls without first providing Boston Scientific his express written consent. The plaintiff says he placed his name on the National Do Not Call Registry specifically to block such calls.