Attorney General Headshot
Attorney General Seal

Attorney General Jackley Warns Consumers of Robocalls Targeting the State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Thursday, October 12, 2017   
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215       
 
PIERRE, S.D. – An unfamiliar number lights up your cellphone, but it appears to be from your area code and your local prefix. The natural reaction is to answer the call thinking it might be something important, only to discover it is a call suggesting you have won a free trip. Robocalls are frustrating, but not something new to the public or to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office. 

“Scammers are continuing to use Robocalls to obtain personal identifying information and to steal your identity,” said Jackley.  “If you do not recognize the incoming number, then please do not answer.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is receiving large call volumes pertaining to robocalls.  Scammers are not targeting one specific area of the state, rather statewide, with multiple topics being used to try and obtain personally identifying information such as travel offers, warranties, social security benefits, IRS, and student loan just to name a few. 

The following are just a few examples of calls that consumers have received:

•    “This is an important call regarding your warranty running out on your vehicle”

•    “This is your student loan center and we have not received your final documents pertaining to your collage loan.  In order not to jeopardize your funding you need to contact us immediately.”

•    “This is Medicare and your Social Security number has been temporarily suspended, for further information please contact us.”

Some of these messages will end with a prompt to press “1” now to be removed from their calling list.  By pressing “1” you have told the robocall scammer that they have a working number.  In addition, the common theme is “URGENCY” and the message is always for immediate action.

Unfortunately, consumers receive an estimated 2.4 billion robocalls during a one month period nationwide.  This is driven in part by internet-powered phone systems that have made it cheap and easy to make calls from anywhere in the world. The scammers are using technology to their advantage and we need to start doing the same.

Currently, there are several mobile apps available to consumers who are being plagued by these calls such as NOMOROBO, Hiya, Robokiller, SMS Blocker.  For landline users, contact your phone company and ask about any robocall-blocking technology that may be available. We are hopeful that new technology will be available to the public to help further combat these calls within the year. 

If you are a victim who has given out personal identifying or financial information, first contact your financial institution and then contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or by filing a complaint at

www.consumer.sd.gov.

-30-