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Definition: robocall


A phone call made by a computer and automatic dialer that delivers a prerecorded message. Robocalls are not the same as automated calls to specific people for appointment reminders, pharmacy pickups and the like. Rather, robocalls deliver the same message to all the phone numbers on a list.

Mostly Ads and Scams
An automated call can be legitimate; for example, a school district might robocall the homes of students informing them of a snow day. However, most robocalls are political announcements or an attempt to sell something. They are also used in phishing schemes that warn of illegal credit card activity or that a lawsuit is pending. The recipients are asked to phone an 800 number, in which case they will be asked to divulge their social security number and other private data (see vishing).

According to the YouMail National Robocall index, in 2018, more than 131 million robocalls were made to U.S. phone numbers every day, even to numbers on the National Do Not Call list. See spam.