Cybersecurity experts warn ‘consent farms’ are selling our consent to be robocalled to other companies

Oct 9, 2023, 10:12 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite efforts to stop spam calls, data from spam-blocking company Robokiller shows Americans still got hit with 4.67 billion robocalls in September. That works out to be over 1,700 robocalls per second. Part of the issue say cyber security experts: companies that make a living duping you into agreeing to be called by other companies.

“If you kind of proceed and look and peruse the site, you have consented,” warned Chris Drake, chief technology officer for telecommunications firm, iconectiv, who reached out to KSL to make viewers aware of consent farms.

“Those are entities that trick the consumer into consenting to something specific through the use of prizes, enticements and whatnot and then they sell that [consent] to everyone,” Drake explained.

Here’s how the trick works: when you enter your information into a website it doesn’t always stay there. Many websites have terms buried in their fine print saying you are hereby opting to be contacted by them, or others to whom they may sell your contact information.

It is a sneaky way around rules and laws, like the Do Not Call list, which are designed to stop the spam. Some consent farms call this a legal loophole. Drake is adamant that it is not.

“You cannot outsource the collection of consent, that is illegal,” he said. “You cannot further decide that that one consent applies to 20 to 50 different things.”

Now, the Federal Trade Commission has recently taken action against several companies it accuses of being consent farms.

So how do you avoid stumbling into a consent farm? Watch out for websites, pop-up ads, emails or tests offering free stuff, gift cards, or leads on jobs. They typically ask for your name and contact info and below that, is fine print that says by checking “I Agree” you’re agreeing to be contacted by their marketing partners.

Drake says anyone who gets a robocall or message, should simply ignore it.

KSL 5 TV Live

Get Gephardt

Dave Donegan showing Matt Gephardt the items that were broken in his move....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

How liable is a moving company if your stuff gets damaged?

Dave Donegan’s home was just about to go into renovation, so he hired a moving and storage company to hold onto his household goods while work was underway.

3 days ago

FILE - The Amazon app is seen on a smartphone, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa. (AP ...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps solve Amazon misdelivery mystery for Manti man

Most of us are ordering more and more things online, and it's sometimes frustrating with things like an Amazon misdelivery mystery.

12 days ago

Scrolling social media, Joyce Lake spotted an ad for a doll. However, not only did the doll not sho...

Matt Gephardt

Imposters are using trust in law enforcement to scam Utahns

Scrolling social media, Joyce Lake spotted an ad for a doll.

13 days ago

Matt Gephardt working with Bona Rose on the CarChex documents....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt: West Valley woman says her extended car warranty claim was denied unfairly

Many drivers buy an extended auto warranty to cover unexpected repair bills. But when a West Valley City woman turned to her warranty provider for major help on her car's transmission, they turned her down - repeatedly.

17 days ago

Matt Gephardt meeting with Denis Hawkins after a rental car company after they ignored his calls fo...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Spanish Fork man clear up insurance claim for rental car damage

Get Gephardt clears up an international rental car insurance standstill.

18 days ago

FILE - An airplane flies through the clouds in Salt Lake City. (Jeffrey D. Allred / Deseret News)...

Matt Gephardt

How recent airline incidents are changing habits and impacting airfare costs

After a year of headlines lamenting runway incursions and midair close calls, the wheels may be coming off for the airline industry. Literally.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Cybersecurity experts warn ‘consent farms’ are selling our consent to be robocalled to other companies