Everyone in the world understands the frustration of being spammed. It’s annoying, it blocks the traffic of valid messages and though it doesn’t take a great deal of time to get rid of the spammer, it all adds up – especially when you’re just spammed again from another source. Most of the time people associate this phenomenon with email, but faxing can also fall victim to junk messaging. However, whereas junk emails could be infected with malware, spam received via fax could result in actual monetary damages due to a waste of ink, toner, paper, and electricity.
Thankfully, though, there are many ways to put an end to the flood of spam fax messages once and for all – and it’s just as easy as creating a spam filter in an email client.
The Law on Your Side
Although there have been a lot of anti-consumer decisions made by authorities lately – particularly the repeal of the net neutrality law in 2017 – but when it comes to junk fax messages, the law is definitely on recipient’s side.
In fact, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and its amendment, the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, clearly state that the broadcasting of unsolicited fax ads is strictly prohibited and violators could be fined up to $1,500 per message. The only exceptions to this law are those messages where the sender has legally obtained the fax number in one of the following ways:
- Directly from the recipient when the business relationship is established.
- From a public source to which the receiver provided their number(s) voluntarily.
- From the client’s own directory, advertisement or website, unless it’s clearly stated that the owner doesn’t want to receive any unsolicited fax advertisements.
In addition to that, it is required by law that fax advertisements also contain a notice on the cover page that clearly informs recipients about how to perform an opt-out request via phone, fax, and email should they no longer want to receive messages from the sender. These contact options are also required to be available 24/7 and entirely free of charge for those looking to unsubscribe from the mailing list.
Depending on the situation, there are two things that can be done to stop being spammed. If you have voluntarily provided your fax number and all necessary unsubscribing options have been duly listed, then contact the sender and your request should be granted within 30 days. However, if you continue receiving unwanted ads after the 30-day period, then file a complaint at the FCC – which is the first step to take when there is no way to be removed from the mailing list or it’s highly likely that your fax number was obtained illegally.
Additionally, there is the option to file a private lawsuit against the sender at the appropriate court – but this should only be performed if the FCC’s hands are tied or if the violation is too grave. Although trials could last long, plaintiffs could recover either any actual monetary loss or up to $500 per fax – an amount that is automatically tripled if the court finds that the sender violated the law on purpose.
Junk Faxes vs Online Faxing Solutions
The bad news is that it doesn’t matter whether you own an actual fax machine or have since switched over to online faxing, there is still a chance that fax spam will find you. The good news is that due to the overall security and the constant monitoring provided by online fax providers, the situation is not as gloomy as it is with traditional fax services and fax machines.
For starters, online faxing doesn’t require any hardware, meaning that spam messages aren’t automatically printed. Then there are the service providers themselves, which make sure that their subscribers are protected at all times, even from unwarranted fax ads. This is achieved through the option for users to report spam faxes – such as with eFax – or by allowing them to block certain fax numbers altogether like with RingCentral’s solution.
Additionally, there is a third method via the filtering of junk faxes. However, this option isn’t recommended at all, because the filter still allows spam messages to come through, which could become a serious problem should the subscription have an limit on the total number of incoming fax pages.