FCC sends notice to major US telecom companies to address robocalls


Every single person with a cell phone in hand has received that phone call from an “Unknown Caller” only to hear a prerecorded message to inform you that you are eligible for a mortgage refinance. These sham companies use the shotgun approach of dialing every single number in a given area code with a hope that maybe 1 in every 1000 calls will be a willing customer. It’s a modern day door-to-door salesman, and it’s a shame that it’s so effective and greatly rewarding for these telemarketers.

On the other side of the coin, we, the informed community, are sick of these telemarketing calls and the situation is only getting worse every year. Anti-spam mobile app, YouMail, has seen the number of reported robocalls more than double from the year 2015 to 2017. There has not been a clear answer by the US government to address this annoyance, but they are looking to change that.

What is the FCC Demanding?

On November 5, 2018, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a letter to the major telecom companies including Alphabet – Google’s parent company, AT&T, Charter Communications, T-Mobile, and Verizon. This letter demands a response from each respective company by November 19 on how they plan to thwart these robocalls. It also calls for an implementation of these plans in 2019. Although many have not held the FCC Chairman in high regard due to his handling of net neutrality, maybe this effort by the FCC could be a relief that the government is not completely out of touch with public opinion.

Call Authentication

Some of you may remember those movies where the suspected kidnapper is making demands over the phone to a helpless victim, but little does the kidnapper realize is that the police are slowly tracing the call back to its source. The phone system that we use today is complex (some may say archaic) and is not managed by one single entity. This gives way to phone number identity spoofing where the phone systems just pass calls with blatant disregard as to where the source is coming from.

Call Authentication is a technology that can thwart spoofing by validating the caller source and rejecting those that may be coming from shoddy identities. The 2003 introduction of the DoNotCall.gov registry has been a celebrated feat of anti-telemarketer enforcement, but it only works on telemarketing companies that follow the rules. By validating the identity of all call sources, those unwanted telemarketers may soon be outed from the hidden shadows. A telemarketer in violation of the DoNotCall.gov registry is subject to fines of $41,484 per violation.

What Can I Do Today?

While the FCC and major telecom companies get their acts together, there are a couple of things that you can do today to help fight the war against telemarketers.

  • Register all your phone numbers to DoNotCall.gov
  • Do not answer any obvious telemarketing calls
  • Do not press 0 or any other number to “unsubscribe”
  • Use a trusted 3rd Party call screening app like YouMail
  • Report all spam calls directly in your Google Phone App.

This is a war so who knows who will come out on top, but with everyone working together, we can fight the good fight against unwanted telemarketing calls.

Register on DoNotCall.gov

Source: Reuters

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