Arkansas law protects people from telemarketing robocalls and scammers targeting unsuspecting or vulnerable citizens over the phone. Under the law, callers must provide accurate information about their identity and location. They also can't use deceptive or fraudulent tactics when trying to sell you goods or services or get you to donate to a charity.
The law, which in some ways is similar to the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), also imposes strict criminal penalties for illegal call spoofing and creates an oversight process for telecommunications providers.
Displaying a fictitious or misleading name or telephone number when calling someone is called "spoofing." Spoofing is the primary way robocallers hide their identities and entice you to answer their phone calls.
Arkansas law prohibits callers from displaying or causing to be displayed spoofed caller ID information on an Arkansas resident's phone. (Ark. Code §§ 4-88-107(a)(11) , 4-99-108(c), 4-99-302(b), 5-63-205.) So, spoofing is illegal under Arkansas law. A few exceptions exist, like in matters of law enforcement and public safety. (Ark. Code § 5-63-205.)
Also, it's illegal to use a third party to display or cause to be displayed a fictitious or misleading name or telephone number on an Arkansas resident's caller ID. (Ark. Code § 4-88-108.)
The law also forbids a person from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information if the purpose is to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. (Ark. Code § 5-63-205.)
Arkansas law forbids deception, fraud, and false pretenses in the sale or advertisement of any goods, services, or charitable solicitation. (Ark. Code § 4-88-108.)
Also, concealing, suppressing, or omitting any material fact is illegal in the selling or advertising of goods or services and charitable solicitations. (Ark. Code § 4-88-108.)
Under Arkansas law, it's unlawful for any person to use a telephone to offer any goods or services for sale when the use involves an automated system for the selection and dialing of telephone numbers and the playing of recorded messages. (Ark. Code § 5-63-204(a)(1).)
This definition of an automated system (basically, an autodialer) is different than what the U.S. Supreme Court said in the case of Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, 141 S. Ct. 1163 (2021), interpreting the federal TCPA. In that case, the Court said that to be considered an autodialer under the federal TCPA, the dialer must have the capacity either to store or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator.
So, the definition of an "automated system" under Arkansas law is broader than what would qualify as an automatic telephone dialing system under the TCPA.
If a telemarketer has violated any of these requirements or restrictions, you can take one or more of the following actions.
You can file a complaint online with the Arkansas Attorney General to report a violation. The attorney general may bring actions to enforce compliance with the state's telemarketing laws.
You can also report a spoofed robocall on the state Attorney General's website. If enough people report the caller, the Attorney General's office might be able to identify the entity making the calls.
You can stop at least some unwanted spoofed calls by adding yourself to the national do-not-call list. Do-not-call lists protect consumers from unwanted calls from telemarketers.
The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission maintain a national do-not-call list. The registry is nationwide and applies to all telemarketers, though some organizations, such as nonprofit organizations, are exempt. You can add your number to this database by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website.
The federal TCPA prohibits most robocalls. You can recover:
In Arkansas, a violation of the laws concerning automated telephone solicitation and spoofing is a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison. (Ark. Code § 5-63-204(b), 5-63-205.)
If you want to learn more about your rights under Arkansas' telemarketing laws or file a suit against a telemarketer, consider talking to an attorney.