If you’re one of the 96 percent of Americans who owns a cell phone, chances are you’ve dealt with your fair share of robocalls, unwanted telemarketing calls, and text message spam over the years. Not only are they frustrating and invasive, they can also lead to identity theft and other forms of financial fraud.
This is a problem that has been festering for quite some time. One study, for example, found that nearly 48 billion robocalls were placed in the United States in 2018—a 56.8 percent increase from the previous year. The problem has only gotten worse since then. A different study found that 54.6 billion spam calls were placed in 2019, with the average consumer receiving 14 such calls every month.
To help reduce the spam that seems to be overwhelming our phones, the government recently updated a law originally passed in 1991 called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
What is the TCPA?
The TCPA is a federal law that outlines how marketers are able to use telemarketing, automatic dialing systems, and pre-recorded messages—what we collectively call spam today.
In 2003, the law was updated to create a national Do Not Call registry. In 2012, it was updated once again to ensure that marketers had obtained written consent from consumers before placing a robocall. The following year, the TCPA received yet another facelift, with new language that targeted text messages.
Despite these regulations, the robocall problem has seemed to only get worse over the years. However, it appears as though this issue is one that unites all Americans, and government agencies, like the Federal Communications Commission, are taking additional actions to solve this problem.
Of course, the spam calls and texts are still coming. As a lead generation marketer dealing with ad fraud, however, it is critical that you do all within your power to comply with TCPA regulations. Otherwise, you may very well end up regretting your noncompliance.
What are the costs of TCPA noncompliance?
Marketers who are found to have violated TCPA regulations can face serious financial penalties to the tune of up to $1,500 per call and text. Depending on the scope of the campaign, those violations can easily add up to millions of dollars.
In fact, Resort Marketing Group recently settled a class-action lawsuit by paying out between $7 million and $12.5 million because they called customers without consent. And in 2019, a dietary supplement company was hit with a massive $925 million fine for violating the TCPA—the biggest penalty issued to date.
Beyond dollars and cents, failure to comply with the TCPA will damage your brand’s reputation as customers become annoyed by your outreach. These sentiments can cause an avalanche across your organization because 95 percent of customers tell other people about bad experiences. Since 32 percent of customers would stop doing business with a brand following a single bad experience, you need to be incredibly cautious every time you pick up the phone to call a prospect.
Taken together, these stats lead to a bleak conclusion: One ill-timed phone call or reaching out to a fraudulent lead has the potential to cause a domino effect of churn across your business.
But I’m not a telemarketer! Does this really apply to me?
By now, you might be thinking something like this: Robocalls and spam texts annoy me, too! But I’m not an annoying telemarketer, so these regulations don’t really apply to me.
If you’re collecting phone numbers for leads through forms and calling them, you’re a telemarketer, at least legally speaking. It turns out that the TCPA applies to any marketer who calls leads and customers. So even if you only pick up the phone once in a blue moon to call one of these individuals, you’ll still need to comply with TCPA regulations or risk penalty.
In other words, you need to thoroughly vet the numbers you call to make sure you have permission to reach out to each person. Even if somebody fills out a form with bogus information and happens to include a number on the Do Not Call registry, you’d still be responsible because you made the call!
Although you might not think of yourself as a telemarketer per se, the law considers you one if you pick up the phone to call leads.
Achieve TCPA compliance with an ad fraud solution.
There are only so many hours in the day. If you’re like most marketers, you probably don’t have enough time to meticulously research each lead to make sure your approach is TCPA-compliant. And even if you somehow do, that’s probably not the best use of your time.
The good news is that achieving TCPA compliance is much easier with the right tools in place. For example, an ad fraud detection solution can help you stop fraudulent traffic sources from flooding your site so you can cultivate clean data and high-quality leads. With the right tools in place, you can analyze where bad traffic is coming from. Once you’ve figured that out, you can take proactive steps to prevent that undesirable traffic from corrupting your data, and increase your TCPA compliance because of it.
For example, if you notice that certain IP addresses keep flooding your site, you can set up an IP block list that prevents these bad actors from continuing to be a bother. You can also implement security obstacles like reCAPTCHA filters (e.g., are you a robot? prompts) that make it that much harder for bots to flood your site. Beyond that, you can create honeypot forms, which are fake forms that only bots can see that capture their attention.
An ad fraud detection solution like Anura can help your organization easily determine whether forms are being filled out by bots, malware, or human click farms. As a result, lead generation marketers get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their lead capture data is accurate and that their methods are in compliance with the TCPA.
Add it all up, and by stopping ad fraud in the first place, you can prevent your company from falling out of compliance.
Ready to protect your company and keep your customers happy?
In the internet age, it’s easier than ever for customers to find substitutes; an endless amount of competitors are always a quick Google search away. So, if you call your customers at the wrong time and without their permission, they might very well decide to stop supporting your business right then and there. And that doesn’t even factor in the TCPA-associated penalties that might come along with an ill-timed call.
By taking a proactive approach to ad fraud and investing in solutions designed to weed out bad data, your job of ensuring TCPA compliance becomes that much easier. Not only does this enable your organization to avoid incurring hefty financial penalties or risk accelerating customer churn, it also means that your outreach efforts will be more fruitful because you’ll only be calling folks who are expecting to hear from you.
To learn more about what you can do to detect ad fraud in real time to protect your data and make sure your operation is TCPA-compliant, request a demo of Anura today. You’ll find out how you can increase the performance of your campaigns and optimize your digital spend while turning bad data away. And that’s the ticket to happier customers, more effective campaigns, and a healthier bottom line.