Robocalls often try to sell you something like a car warranty or insurance, but what if you could actually make thousands of dollars on those calls? A McKinney, Texas man says he's mastered the art of turning robocalls into thousands of dollars -- legally.
Paula Currie, a realtor in Dallas, is one of many who make money from robocalls. She said she can't ignore random numbers, but it makes her a prime target for robocallers to flood her phone nonstop.
"[The calls] just constantly taking up my time when I'm trying to make a living for myself and my family," she said.
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It makes her mad. So mad that sometimes certain phrases slip out when she's confronting the callers.
"I told him to kiss my ass!" she said.
Today, Currie welcomes every robocall she can get. Currie has made a total of $8,000 from robocalls. She credits Doc Compton, a credit repair expert in McKinney.
Over the years, he studied two federal laws that give people the right to turn those annoying rings into cash. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule make it illegal for any business to call a cell phone using an auto dialer without permission.
Every time they do, they owe you no less than $500. If your cell phone is on the National Do Not Call Registry, they owe you $1,500. Compton sells a $47 kit with step-by-step instructions explaining how to turn robocalls into cash.
"You actually have to take the calls. You can't just ignore them anymore," he said.
You'll want to keep the caller on the phone to try to get as much information as possible about who they really are. Then, ask for the name of the company, a website and address.
Compton's kit includes how to use that information to track them down, and a template for the demand letters. You send that letter to the robocallers, and wait for them to call you and make an offer.
What about robocalls that are recordings, not actual people? Compton says generally those calls want you to call or visit a website. That website or phone number is your first step toward knowing who to go after with the demand letter.
"Believe it or not, because these robocallers don't want to go to court," Compton said. "They don't want to have all their records exposed in a public forum because that brings all kinds of undue scrutiny from the federal agencies and so on, they very often will settle."
It's a new side hustle of Currie's that's paying off big time.
"I absolutely love answering my phone now," she said.
"I've had people ask me, 'If this works as well as people say it does, eventually aren't they going to stop calling?' Yeah. Exactly. That's the hope," Compton said.
It's important to note that the method only works on cell phones, not landlines. Compton has helped dozens of people across the country cash in on robocalls. He calls it the ultimate payback.