The term robocall is an abbreviation of robot call, a telephone call from an autodialer. This is a computer-assisted calling program that transmits a pre-recorded message
. Robocalls can be used for serious messaging, such as reminding people of appointments or alerting them to special promotions. However, robocalls are increasingly being used for scam activities, suggesting a profit to callers, offering an investment deal, or coercing callers into handing over money using the classic grandkid trick.
These unsolicited calls, also known as cold calls, are prohibited. Under national law, only specifically authorized calls may take place. Unauthorized robocalls are subject to the "Act against Unfair Competition" and can be punished with fines of up to € 50,000 since October 2013.